Infants’ deaths probed near Fort Lauderdale, SW Miami-Dade

NEAR FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) – Two separate death investigations are underway after, authorities said, two 2-month-old infants were found dead inside homes near Fort Lauderdale and in Southwest Miami-Dade.

Investigators said both cases seem to share one tragic element. The couples in each household appeared to have brought their infants into bed with them, a fairly common practice called co-sleeping.

Miami-Dade Police responded to a home along Southwest 268th Street and 129th Avenue, in Southwest Miami-Dade, Sunday. Officers found a baby girl, later identified as Ayla Cappas, dead at the scene.

7News cameras captured relatives crying outside the home after officers taped off the scene.

“I am completely devastated,” said the infant’s father, Alvaro Cappas. “No parent deserves to go through this.”

The grieving parent said he and his fiancée had taken an afternoon nap with their daughter in their bed.

When they got up, Cappas said, they noticed she wasn’t breathing. “She goes ‘Babe, the baby is not moving.’ She feels cold, and when I go to move her, her face is like bluish, pale,” he said.

Cappas said he immediately began to administer CPR. “We took CPR classes for the baby,” he said. “We did everything. She showed a little, like a sound, it was just air escaping from her lungs, so we started kind of patting her on the chest to see if I could get her to wake up — they told us to do that. Kept continuing CPR, nothing is happening.”

The child’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office to determine how she died.

The next morning, Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives said, something very similar may have happened in an apartment along the 2700 block of Northwest 15th Court.

Officials said a 2-month-old infant was found dead in one of the beds inside of the unit, just after 10 a.m.

Deputies did not specify the circumstances behind the baby’s death but did say it was not suspicious.

About 3,500 infant deaths a year are sleep-related, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, some of them due to co-sleeping.

The group Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies has made it their mission to teach parents how their babies should sleep. “Alone on your back, in a crib. That is how your infant should be positioned,” said Michelle Reese, the group’s executive director.

In a public service announcement the organization released last year, they stated that, “When you bring them to sleep in bed with us, with their favorite stuffed animal or a pillow, we put our babies at risk, and on an average, one baby dies every three weeks in Broward County due to these unsafe sleep practices.”

It’s a lesson at least one of the families in these ongoing death investigations learned too late, and in the most heartbreaking of ways. “When you go to sleep, please put the baby in the crib, no pillows, no nothing,” said Cappas.

Detectives do not suspect foul play in either case. Authorities continue to investigate.

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