Cops Suspect Dad Botched Murder-Suicide

Man, 2-year-old found unconscious with white powder in car

Wednesday, Oct 5, 2011  |  Updated 7:00 AM EDT
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The white powder substance has not yet been identified.

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A New York man in a dispute with a woman may have tried to kill their young daughter and himself by covering them both with chemicals in a vehicle, where they were found having trouble breathing, police said.

 

The 45-year-old Queens man, a mechanic with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is in critical condition at a Long Island hospital, Nassau County Police spokesman Lt. Kevin Smith said. His 2-year-old daughter is in critical but stable condition at Cohen Children's Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Michelle Pinto.

 

They were found in the vehicle Monday morning behind a store in suburban Lawrence, authorities said.

 

Investigators found ammonium chloride, commonly found in fire extinguishers and fertilizers, in and on the child's bottle. A chemical used in household pesticides also was found on the father and child and throughout the vehicle.

 

"It looks like he may have given the child this product to ingest," Smith said. "He may have ingested the rest on his own, so we have to look at from a standpoint it may be an attempt to take his child's life and commit suicide."

 

Hazardous materials crews checked the vehicle and determined there was no danger to the community, police said.

 

The girl lived with her mother in Brooklyn, Smith said, but the father had unlimited visitation rights.

 

He said the couple apparently had been embroiled in some sort of dispute. Police didn't say whether they were married.

 

"There may be a great deal of acrimony between both parties, friction between both parties," Smith added.

 

He said there was no evidence the man was intoxicated; he declined to comment when asked whether a suicide note was found.

 

Smith declined to identify the man, citing the likelihood that criminal charges could be filed against him.

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