The son of famed Brooklyn novelist Paul Auster has been charged in the November death of his 10-month-old daughter, authorities said, after a toxicology report found the baby overdosed on heroin and fentanyl.
Daniel Auster, 44, was arraigned Sunday on charges of second-degree murder, criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child. Prosecutors said he was caring for her 10-month-old daughter, Ruby Auster, when she was found unresponsive and unresponsive in her Park Slope apartment on Nov. 1.
Emergency services took the girl to hospital, where she was pronounced dead the same day. An autopsy later determined her cause of death to be acute heroin and fentanyl intoxication, police said.
Auster, a 44-year-old Park Slope resident, admitted to injecting heroin on Nov. 1, according to a criminal complaint. He said that she took a nap with her daughter, placed her in bed next to him and found her lifeless and blue when he woke up from her.
He then administered Narcan, an overdose reversal treatment, in case she had been exposed to narcotics, prosecutors said.
After his appearance in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Sunday, Auster’s bond was set at $100,000 cash and $250,000 bail. She did not post bail immediately. An attorney for Auster did not respond to requests for comment.
Her father, Paul Auster, is the award-winning author of “The New York Trilogy,” “Sunset Park” and other novels. The narrator of his 2004 novel, “Oracle Night,” who is widely seen as a stand-in for the author, has a son who struggles with drug addiction. His mother, Lydia Davis, is also an acclaimed short story writer.
In 1998, when he was 20 years old, Daniel Auster pleaded guilty to $3,000 in stolen property. The cash belonged to Andrew Melendez, a drug dealer who was killed by Michael Alig and Robert Riggs in the infamous “club kid” murder. Auster was not implicated in the crime, according to reports at the time.
The death of the 10-month-old baby comes amid a surge in overdose incidents across the country, a trend driven largely by the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
More than 1,200 people died from overdoses in New York City in the first half of last year, a 78% increase from pre-pandemic levels and an increase from 2020, when a record number of fatal overdoses were recorded , according to recently released city data.