5-Month-Old Dies of Alcohol Poisoning
In May of 2015, Jacob Isaiah Chiclana died with a blood alcohol content of .04. His father, Jorge E. Chiclana (22), was arrested a year after his death for second-degree manslaughter. The bottle police found in Jacob’s crib contained 25% alcohol, a 50-proof drink for an infant.
Paramedics showed up to the apartment in Norwalk to investigate a baby that had stopped breathing. They tried to bring the child back, but Jacob was already gone. He has alcohol present in the tissue of his liver and his urine.
Authorities report that the apartment had a strong odor of paint, as Chiclana claimed he had spray-painted the baby’s toy car and gone to bed. Chiclana says he opened the windows and left the fan on, but the residence still appeared to be filled with paint fumes and residue.
Jacob’s mother, Odalis Galarza, denied knowing who made the bottle that day, insisting that she didn’t allow alcohol in the home. She later told police that she recalled her partner, Chiclana, preparing the bottle. She also mentioned that Chiclana had expressed dislike at the attention she had been giving the child, joking that he would give Jacob alcohol to help him sleep.
Chiclana had struggled with substance abuse for years, and his partner insisted she did not allow liquor in the home. She told authorities she overheard Chiclana on the phone with his mother speaking about giving infant Jacob liquor to help his teething and get him to sleep. Galarza later admitted to detectives that she feared Chiclana and his drinking due to previous instances of domestic violence.
She says he made the bottle and brought it to her, claiming to have “kicked it up a notch.” A week before the incident a 16-month-old was admitted to Norwalk Hospital after ingesting liquid incense that Chiclana had left on the table.
Initially, authorities believed Jacob had died of aspiration when the airways are blocked or infected by some substance. However, it is now thought that Jacob died due to asthma complications from being placed on his face in the crib.
The alcohol in the bottle depressed his nervous system, causing his breathing to slow and eventually cease. Depression of the respiratory system has been linked to hypoventilation among intoxicated adolescents and young adults.
Chiclana initially was charged with manslaughter and injuring and impairing the morals of children. Before his arrest, he was on the run in Puerto Rico. U.S. Marshalls arrested Chiclana at a roadside hotel in Stratford. He was put on suicide watch, as he is said to be suffering from mental health issues, and his bail was set at $75,000.
He was sentenced to five years in prison on the risk of injury to a child. He will then face five years of probation upon his release.
After Jacob’s passing the family donated his organs to the New England Organ Bank in the hopes of saving other infants lives. Galarza says her child “went out like a champ, and he went out helping someone else.”