It was June 25th, 2023, when Bailey Jacoby left his 18-month-old daughter Iris Alfera home alone with his 20-year-old girlfriend, Aleisia Owens.
Not long after Bailey walked out the door that day, Aleisia phoned Bailey to say that something wasn’t quite right with little Iris. Emergency responders quickly rushed to the Pennsylvania home Bailey, Iris, and Aleisia shared, only to find that Iris was unresponsive.
After getting Iris to UPMC Jameson Hospital, she was quickly airlifted over to UPMC Children’s Hospital, located in Pittsburgh. Sadly, just four days after Iris was hospitalized, she tragically passed away.
An autopsy was performed on Iris a day after her passing, and her cause of death was deemed to be poisoning from acetone, which in turn caused her organs to fail.
“The Medical Examiner determined that the child’s death was the result of fatal levels of acetone in her blood at the time of death, and ruled it a homicide,” the New Castle Police Department said in a statement.
“Investigators learned that in months before the baby’s death, the child ingested numerous “water beads,” along with button-shaped batteries, and a metal screw. Investigators discovered that Owens had been researching online the harm that water beads and batteries can cause children prior to the child ingesting the items.”
As investigators continued looking into Aleisia’s online history, they found out that she had looked up different things that were directly correlated to Iris’s death.
Aleisia had searched on her phone for information about household items that could kill or harm a child, like nail polish, water beads, and batteries.
“Searches included phrases such as, “beauty products that are poisonous to kids” and “medications leading to cause accidental poisoning deaths in children,” the New Castle Police Department stated.
Several months prior to Iris’s death, she landed in the hospital after eating batteries, a metal screw, and 20 water beads.
“The details of this case are heartbreaking. It is hard to fathom someone taking deliberate steps to harm a completely helpless child, then mislead investigators about what happened,” Attorney General Michelle Henry remarked.
“The investigation shows that, for months, the defendant conducted meticulous research on how certain substances harm children. She then allegedly acted on her findings. My office will never stop working to hold individuals accountable who knowingly put the lives of others, especially vulnerable children, at risk.”
Aleisia has since been charged with criminal homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated assault of a child, and endangering the welfare of a child, among other things.
Iris’s family has created a Facebook page called Iris’ Angels in order to raise awareness and get justice for little Iris.
“I have no words for what has currently happened to my beautiful angel baby, never in my life I thought I would be saying goodbye to the biggest light in my life,” Iris’s biological mom Emily wrote in a post shared to the page.
“…You were too good for this world, you would’ve and are still going to move mountains. You are one of the smartest little girls I have ever met, intelligent beyond compare and I just pray that you’re watching over me as I dedicate my life to you. I love you forever and always my rissy.”
Senior Deputy Attorney General Kara Rice and Senior Deputy Attorney General Alicia Werner are prosecuting the case.