Medical examiner says 17-month-old boy died of asphyxiation; father also charged

The father of a 17-month-old boy allegedly killed by his mother is now also facing charges in connection with his son's death, Allegheny County police said Thursday night.

Andre Price Jr. is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

A McKeesport, Pennsylvania, woman charged in the death of her 17-month-old son was arguing with the boy's father in a cellphone text exchange and is accused of sending him a video of the lifeless boy's body and allegedly admitted to smothering him, according to an Allegheny County police complaint.

Explore>>RELATED: Mother accused of killing son, sending video of lifeless child to father

Christian Clark, 21, is facing charges of criminal homicide in Andre Price III's death and attempted homicide for attempting to smother her 2-year-old daughter. The medical examiner Thursday ruled Andre’s death as a homicide and listed the cause as asphyxiation.

According to the complaint, Allegheny County police responded to an apartment at Hi View Gardens on Tuesday night after Clark called 911. When officers arrived, they found the toddler and Clark inside the apartment.

Police transported Price to UPMC McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Clark told a detective at the hospital that her son was a healthy child with no known medical conditions. She said she lived alone with Price and her 2-year-old daughter.

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Clark told police that she found Price lying unresponsive on an air mattress in the living room of the apartment a short time before she called 911. She said she was alone in the apartment with the children.

According to the complaint, Clark said that Price's father had left for work around 2:30 p.m. and had not returned to the apartment. Clark said she'd been arguing with the boy's father earlier in the day because Clark accused the man of cheating on her.

Clark agreed to go to Allegheny County police headquarters to speak with detectives. Detectives reviewed text messages that spanned a period of two-and-a-half hours between Clark and the boy's father.

According to the complaint, the text messages from Clark to Price's father "turn to animus and threats against the children. She was advised the messages included messages stating that she had killed her son, and some video messages showed her son's lifeless body."

"She was sending them before the act, during the act and following the act as well,” Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said.

While reviewing the messages with Clark, she admitted that she had "pressed her son's face into the bedding of the air mattress" for approximately one minute, according to the complaint. The complaint further stated that Clark admitted she was responsible for Price's death.

Text messages from Clark to the boy's father alledgedly state that Clark also tried to smother her 2-year-old daughter. Police said the girl was released from the hospital Wednesday to a family member.

According to the complaint, Clark's two final texts read, "I'm literally going to jail you have a funeral to plan,” and, "I really snapped this time.”

"It just goes to show how texts have become such a routine part of our lives that people don't even realize the nature of what they're communicating," McDonough said.

Officials said the investigation is ongoing, and Clark remains in the Allegheny County Jail pending arraignment.

The medical examiner listed Price's cause and manner of death as still pending.

"I'm not going to make statuses about my son so please nobody else let him rest in peace," Price's father posted on his Facebook page.

A makeshift memorial consisting of teddy bears, a card and a candle sat outside the apartment door Thursday. Some neighbors told WPXI that they had seen Clark around the apartment complex, but didn’t know she had children.

Investigators told WPXI that police have no record of Clark ever hurting the children before Tuesday in the past.

  • Read the text messages HEREWARNING: some may consider the language and subject matter offensive and disturbing.