baby picture
Three-day-old baby found dead inside an apartment strewn with drug paraphernalia - Representational image Janko Ferlič/ Unsplash

A New Jersey couple is facing charges after their newborn baby was found dead in their apartment scattered with drug paraphernalia.

Joseph and Juliann Chmielewski were arrested after a witness called 911 to report "an unresponsive infant in medical distress". The emergency responders immediately took the few days old child to Hackensack University Medical Center in an ambulance, but she was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Authorities said on Monday, 12 February, the pair, 40 and 35, respectively have now been charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Both of them are alleged to have willingly not taken medical help for their baby daughter who was born on 6 February in an unspecified private home, the Daily Mail reported.

Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo told that the couple have also been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, which was littered around their apartment on Strong Street when the officers arrived.

Their landlord has also alleged that the couple were a problem tenant whom he tried to get evicted in February 2017. Andy Scholes said he gave the apartment on rent to them because his son and Joseph were in the same school and he had known him since his kindergarten days.

But the pair allegedly started creating problems since the first day after moving into the flat. They were allegedly not paying rent and Scholes said he'd suspected them of using drugs in the apartment for at least a year.

"It's kind of sad, but they didn't seem like they made good parents," the 73-year-old apartment owner said. He added that he had no idea about Juliann's pregnancy and the couple's expenses were borne by Joseph's mother for at least a year.

Court documents revealed that the pair had earlier also faced eviction from a different apartment in Lodi in July 2015 due to their problematic nature.

The Chmielewskis were released without bail pending further legal action after they appeared in a Hackensack court on Monday. An investigation into the case is on, the prosecutors' office said.