Life is full of surprises, it seems, like waking up, not knowing you’re pregnant and delivering a baby boy later that day.
That’s how Jaxon Eckrote reportedly came into the world. He went out 2 1/2 months later when he suffocated after his mother allegedly crushed him in a recliner. She said it was an accident.
Now Mommy Clueless Tracey Ann Gonda is challenging evidence prosecutors seized under a search warrant, including four cans of a malt liquor beverage. Yep, that surely won’t sit well with a jury.
Gonda faces involuntary manslaughter and other charges. Last year she asked for more time to prepare a defense, including, “if applicable,” one of insanity, The Times Leader reported on Dec. 26.
Gonda, who’s now 41, said she didn’t know Jaxon was still in the recliner when she awoke and placed it back in an upright position in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, 2014.
First of all, let’s hope she didn’t know he was still in that chair. Secondly, STILL in the chair? Did she actually leave her baby in the recliner before turning in for the night? And if she didn’t know he was still in the chair, did she know where he was? Did she think he crawled out of the recliner in search of his crib?
The child’s father, Corey Eckrote, who’s 50 and had legal custody of Jaxon and Gonda’s other son from another father, also faces involuntary manslaughter charges as well as endangering the welfare of children. Both are free on $50,000 bail.
If you’re hearing about this wretched story for the first time, this infant was born drug dependent because Gonda was using drugs during her pregnancy, the TL reported. She said she didn’t know she was pregnant until the day Jaxon was born, the newspaper also reported on Oct. 4, 2014.
So considering that incredulous assertion, it’s entirely plausible she also didn’t have a clue her infant was snuggled in a recliner when she set it upright.
Luzerne County assistant district attorney Jenny Roberts had told District Judge Donald Whitaker at Gonda’s preliminary hearing that the couple didn’t follow a court-ordered plan to ensure the safety of the child. You might say that.
We’re guessing that Luzerne County Children and Youth didn’t recommend that Gonda drink cans of malt liquor with a friend before going to bed on that fateful night. Eckrote purchased the booze for them before he went out for the night, police said.
It’s also a good guess a beer run wasn’t in the county agency’s safety plan either.
As if this case isn’t already disturbing enough, Gonda also allegedly saw fit to throw her other son under the bus, which prompted ADA Roberts to file a corruption of minors charge against her.
Gonda told authorities that baby Jaxon was sleeping on top of her in the recliner but that when she awoke, she didn’t see him in the bassinet or on the changing table nearby. Huh? If the baby was sleeping on top of her, how, pray tell, would he have gotten into a bassinet or on a nearby changing table. As though a 2 1/2-year-old child slumbering on a changing table is a good thing.
She initially told police she had placed her baby in a bassinet. But as police interviewed her, her other son Max said his baby brother was found face down in the recliner.
“What did I tell you about making up stories,” Gonda said to her son, according to a published report. The four-year-old apparently learned well, not allowing Mommy to make up stories either.
Last year, Children & Youth ordered Tracey Gonda to check in with them every morning at 10. For what we don’t know. Her mother testified that she woke her daughter up every morning at 10 to make that call, including the morning he was found suffocated to death.
Now, you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking here. Why does a 40-year-old woman need a wake-up call at 10 a.m. from her mother to call an agency checking on the welfare of her infant?
We understand this agency is swamped with cases and likely understaffed. But considering Gonda also allegedly continued to test positive for drug use, perhaps it would have been better for someone from Children & Youth to drop by unannounced around 10 instead of relying on Gonda calling to say everything’s hunky dory.
We’ll find out more when these two go to trial. But what we already know is this child was doomed from the get go.