Jonathan Whalen has been charged with child-endangerment for allegedly neglecting his twins just weeks before his infant son died.

The Plattsburgh man, 28, was arrested Wednesday on two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with a 2010 incident at his former Route 9 home in Chazy.

Prosecutors and State Police say Whalen and the children's mother, Melissa Gonyo, left their infant twins unattended and in potentially dangerous sleeping positions.

Child Protective Services caseworkers found the twins alone and crying when they visited the home for an unannounced visit, officials with the Clinton County District Attorney's Office have said.

Authorities said Whalen and Gonyo were apparently upstairs sleeping but never heard the caseworkers knocking on the door, calling their phone, the babies crying or their dog barking.


When police gained emergency access into the home a short time later, they reportedly found the infants unattended and propped on furniture.

The parents then came downstairs and were warned about the potentially dangerous situation, officials have said.

Three weeks later, prosecutors believe, Gonyo repeated those actions with her son, Zachary, after he woke in the middle of the night.

Officials said Gonyo woke with the boy, changed him and gave him a bottle but then left him propped in a chair downstairs while she returned to her upstairs bedroom.

Whalen found their son dead several hours later, after the infant apparently suffocated from being left in the propped position.

Authorities believe the baby died of positional asphyxia.


The former Chazy residents were already the focus of an ongoing Child Protective Services investigation and have since been involved in Family Court proceedings.

They both now face criminal charges — Whalen was arrested in connection with the earlier incident and Gonyo indicted for both her son's death and the prior alleged neglect.

She remains in custody at Clinton County Jail on manslaughter and child-endangerment charges, unable to post $30,000 cash bail or $60,000 bond.

Whalen was released after his arrest Wednesday afternoon and is expected to appear in Chazy Town Court on Aug. 23 for arraignment.

Gonyo, 21, now of Beekmantown, has pleaded not guilty and is due back in County Court for a conference Sept. 28.

She is not accused of intentionally causing her son's death, but for allegedly acting recklessly that night after having already been warned about the potential dangers of leaving her children unattended in the propped sleeping position.

The couple's remaining child, Zoe, is now in the care of relatives of Whalen.

Email Andrea VanValkenburg at:

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