SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A San Jose infant only survived for three months in a home littered with illicit drugs before she was poisoned by fentanyl, investigators said. After Baby Phoenix tragically died on May 13, her father continued using drugs, according to court documents obtained by KRON4 Monday.
Phoenix’s cause of death was determined to be from a toxic combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
In July, baby Phoenix’s father, David Anthony Castro, and mother, Emily De La Creda, were informed by the coroner’s office that drugs caused their daughter’s death.
On September 16, Phoenix’s mother died in the same apartment from a fentanyl overdose. “Phoenix’s mother … overdosed on fentanyl and died. Search of the home that day yielded more drugs and paraphernalia yet again,” court documents state.
Even after his girlfriend and infant daughter both died inside his home, Castro’s drug activities continued, the DA’s Office said.
“Despite both his baby’s and (De La Creda’s) death from overdose, defendant still did not alter his behavior or home environment. When SJPD arrested the defendant for Phoenix’s death on October 19, 2023, more drugs and paraphernalia were located inside the home,” prosecutors wrote.
The father behavior during his daughter’s short life “shows clear disregard” for Phoenix’s health and well-being, prosecutors said.
Castro, 38, is a father of three who had sole custody rights for Phoenix, as well as visitation rights to see his 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. The District Attorney’s Office is now fighting to keep Castro in custody to protect his surviving children and ensure he doesn’t attempt to flee from the county.
The DA’s Office filed a motion ahead of Castro’s bail hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday. In the opposition to pretrial release motion, prosecutors wrote, “Given defendant’s actions and unwillingness to curb drug use and create a safe environment for his loved ones, any contact with the defendant puts those two toddlers at risk, similar to the risk that claimed Phoenix’s life. He should be held in custody on ‘no bail’ pending trial.”
Castro’s criminal history includes two felony and 16 misdemeanor convictions. Eight of his 18 convictions were for drug-related crimes dating back to 2011.
Prosecutors said Castro also has a lengthy history of failing to show up for court, and if he is granted bail Tuesday, he will pose a flight risk.
Castro is facing significant prison time if convicted of the charges against him. He is charged with felony endangering or injuring the health of a child, and a special allegation of corporal injury of a child resulting in death.
The father called 911 at 10:08 a.m. on May 13 reporting that his baby was not breathing inside their apartment at 5479 Spinnaker Walkway. The baby’s mother was not home at the time. As Phoenix was being rushed to a hospital, investigators searched the apartment. In the kitchen, San Jose Police Department officers said they found broken fentanyl, glass pipes, aluminum foil, baby bottles, and Narcan.
Police later found videos inside Castro’s cellphone. Prosecutors said the videos show Castro and his “associates” sitting around a “table bustling with drug activity.” Text messages indicated that the drugs were being used and sold in the apartment in the days leading up to the baby’s death, investigators said.
“The father was the sole caretaker of (Phoenix), and he was the only other person inside the residence at the time of the victim’s death,” SJPD Det. Mike Harrington wrote.
Prosecutors wrote, “unlike a toddler, who can move around, grab things, or crawl into small places, a 3-month-old child is completely immobile and is entirely dependent on her caretaker to receive food, nutrients, and care.”
Castro has remained in custody since his arrest on October 19.
“I can’t fathom how a parent could recklessly cause the death of their own child,” District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen said. “What I fully understand is our responsibility to hold that person accountable for this heartbreaking tragedy.”