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‘They would leave the babies crying:’ Parents charged after 18-month-old found unresponsive

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NANTICOKE, Penn. -- A mother and father are facing charges after their 18-month-old child was found unresponsive in their Pennsylvania home.

Police say the parents were smoking marijuana in their basement while the baby and two other young children, including another 18-month-old were upstairs unsupervised.

Neighbors recalled seeing emergency vehicles and a barely-dressed baby being carried out of 231 East Green St. in Nanticoke by first responders Tuesday evening, Feb. 6.

“The paramedic was holding the baby in his arms very tightly so he wouldn't be cold I guess,” said Kathleen DeAngelis.

Emergency crews and police were called to the house after the father of an 18-month-old child found the child limp and unresponsive.

“He hands the paramedic the baby in the doorway, and it was limp, and it just had a diaper on and a little shirt,” said Larry Beck. “The paramedic had to take his jacket off.”

“The baby looked like it wasn't moving,” said Kathleen Diekhaus.

Police say the baby's parents, Raheem Twyman and Kayla Bitzer, had been smoking marijuana in their basement while that 18-month-old, another 18-month-old and a 3-year-old child were all on the first floor unsupervised.

Beck said the couple is always smoking in their basement while the children are left alone upstairs.

“Soon as they come in, they go down there,” said Beck. “The kids’ windows are right above here. They're screaming. I went over. I knocked on the door.”

The unresponsive 18-month-old was found by Twyman after the 3-year-old went to the basement saying the two babies were climbing on his folding table. That 18-month-old was taken to the hospital. The other children were taken into protective custody.

The couple was charged with possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of children.

“They would leave the babies crying for anywhere from 40 to 45 minutes before somebody goes in there,” said Beck.

Bitzer is out on unsecured bail. Twyman remains locked up in Luzerne County.

They both have preliminary hearings set for Feb. 14.

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