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Lawrence County woman facing homicide charges in relation to the death of 1-year-old Iris Alfera

Woman facing homicide charges in relation to death of 1-year-old girl
Woman facing homicide charges in relation to death of 1-year-old girl 02:39

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (KDKA) — A woman is facing criminal homicide charges in the death of her boyfriend's 1-year-old daughter in 2023.

According to the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, a joint investigation between its office and the New Castle Police Department found that 20-year-old Aleisia Owens was responsible for acts of abuse that led to the baby's death in 2023. 


On June 25, 2023, emergency crews were called to the home of Iris Alfera's father, Jacoby, where he lived with Owens, his girlfriend. That's where they found the 1-year-old girl unresponsive. 

She was taken to UPMC Jameson Hospital but ultimately flown to UPMC Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh. Iris died on June 29. 

The medical examiner determined that Iris's death was caused by fatal levels of acetone in her blood, ruling it a homicide. The acetone caused the baby to go into organ failure and it was determined she had been exposed to acetone just before she was taken to the hospital. 

Investigators learned that in the lead-up to Iris's death, she had ingested numerous water beads and button-shaped batteries, as well as a metal screw. 

The investigation was blown open when police searched Owens' phone, which they say contained multiple incriminating web searches, including researching the effects of drinking acetone on a child. 

"Her phone searches were a crucial piece of the evidence against her," New Castle Police Chief Robert Salem said.

Owens faces charges of criminal homicide, endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault. She has been denied bail. 

"I hope the baby rests in peace," one neighbor said.

Signs that read "justice for baby Iris" line the street where the 1-year-old lived with her dad and Owens. 

"It saddened the community," Salem said. "It angered us. A lot of people in the community, they wanted immediate justice." 

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