Two arrested after unsupervised one-year-old dies, 2 other children taken from home

Two arrested after unsupervised one-year-old dies, 2 other children taken from home
Thomas Cannette, left, and Cassandra Lopresto are facing felony child abuse charges after Cannette's one-year-old son died while in their care. (Source: Photo Harrison Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A man and woman are facing serious charges after a one-year-old died while in their care and two other small children also showed signs of abuse.

The child’s father Thomas Cannette and his girlfriend Cassandra Lopresto, both 27, were arrested Tuesday on three counts of felony child neglect.

Harrison County deputies visited the couple’s home on Dec. 3 after getting a call about an unresponsive child. The child was taken to a Biloxi hospital, where he was pronounced dead. While investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s death, authorities discovered that the boy was left unsupervised for a period of time. The child was eventually found behind a sofa in the couple’s home.

Sheriff’s deputies say there were “deplorable conditions” inside the home, prompting them to contact Department of Human Services. When DHS arrived, two other children were taken into custody. According to investigators, there were obvious signs of abuse and neglect on the two- and three-year-old children.

The two-year-old boy and the child who died were Canette’s, while the three-year-old girl belonged to Lopresto.

While investigating the child’s death, deputies found drug paraphernalia in the couple’s home, leading them to arrest Lopresto and Cannette. The couple were booked into Harrison County Adult Detention Center while investigators waited for the results from the medical examiner on how the one-year-old died and the extent of the other two children’s injuries.

An autopsy from the state medical examiner’s office showed obvious signs of abuse on the one-year-old, said authorities. The child died as a result of asphyxiation after becoming trapped behind the sofa, according to the investigator’s report.

Cannette and Lopresto are each being held in jail on a $750,000 bond. The charges have not been upgraded at this time.

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