Novelist Paul Auster's son, charged over baby's death, dies

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US writer Paul Auster, photographed in Lyon in January 2018 (AFP/JEFF PACHOUD) (JEFF PACHOUD)

The 44-year-old son of acclaimed US novelist Paul Auster has died, New York police said Thursday, just over a week after he was charged in the death of his baby daughter.

Daniel Auster died of an accidental drug overdose, the New York Post reported.

The New York Police Department told AFP that Auster was found unconscious on a subway platform in Brooklyn on April 20.

Police officers administered CPR and Auster was taken to Brooklyn Hospital in a stable condition but died on Tuesday, a spokesperson said.

The younger Auster was arraigned in court earlier this month on charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child. He was released on bail.

His 10-month-old daughter, Ruby, died from an overdose of fentanyl and heroin in November.

According to a criminal complaint cited by US media, Auster told police that he injected himself with heroin and lay down for a sleep next to his daughter. When he woke up, the girl was unresponsive.

Auster said he administered the overdose treatment drug Narcan and tried to revive the baby before calling 911, the reports said.

Auster had a previous tangle with law enforcement in 1996 when Andre "Angel" Melendez, an alleged drug dealer, was murdered -- though he was not implicated in that crime.

He pleaded guilty to possessing $3,000 that had been stolen from Melendez, and was sentenced to probation.

Two others -- Michael Alig and his roommate Robert Riggs -- pleaded guilty to Melendez's murder and to dumping his body in the Hudson River.

Daniel Auster's mother is Paul Auster's first wife, the writer Lydia Davis.

The elder Auster is the author of numerous bestsellers including "4 3 2 1" and "The New York Trilogy."

In his 2003 novel "Oracle Night," the narrator is a writer whose son is a drug addict.

Overdose deaths are rising in New York City, driven by fentanyl.

In the first half of 2021, 1,233 died from drug overdoses, compared to 965 during the same period in 2020, according to official statistics.

"The Wire" actor Michael K. Williams died of an accidental drug overdose in September after taking fentanyl-laced heroin.


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