Man Accused of Killing Toddler Claims She Choked on a Hot Dog

A Pennsylvania man who told police a toddler in his care choked on a hot dog was charged Thursday with killing her by fracturing her skull at a mobile home where they lived with the child's mother, a prosecutor said.

Gary Foley Jr. faces a homicide charge in the death of a 17-month-old girl in Walnutport last year, said John Morganelli, district attorney for Northampton County.

Foley called 911 on Feb. 24, 2015, and told dispatchers, "Something is wrong with my baby." He said he'd been feeding the child a piece of hot dog and put her on the floor to change her diaper when she began choking, according to Morganelli.

An autopsy detected the skull fracture. Morganelli said it's not clear how she suffered the fracture, but he said Foley was the only adult at the home with the child. Authorities waited to charge Foley while trying to develop more evidence in a case the prosecutor acknowledged is circumstantial.

Court records didn't indicate Foley had an attorney who could comment on the charges.

Foley, 32, and the girl's mother, 27-year-old Heather Surget, also face child endangerment charges. They were living with three other children in the mobile home that authorities say was bug-infested and cluttered with trash, had holes in the floor and no running water or a permanent heating source. It wasn't clear whether Surget has an attorney.

Surget told police she met Foley online, and he moved in with her about a week earlier, Morganelli said.

"Yet another example of individuals who have absolutely no responsibility or ability to take care of numerous children, endangering their welfare, and in this case, also the life of one of the children," Morganelli said.

Foley and Surget were arraigned Thursday. Foley was jailed without bail. Surget was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Lehigh Township police Chief Scott Fogel said there were indications that at least one of the other children had been abused. Foley's 4-year-old son and Surget's other two children, 3 years and 2 months old, also lived in the home. They were placed in the custody of child welfare authorities.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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