Three days before Ayden Zylstra died, his mother called 911 in the middle of the night from their home in northwest Indiana to report the 2-month-old boy wasn’t breathing, authorities said Wednesday as they released new details in the homicide case.

After the 2:22 a.m. call on March 2, the boy was taken to a Valparaiso hospital 27 miles away before being transported to the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital in critical condition, Jasper County Sheriff Terry Risner said in a news release.

Doctors found Ayden “suffered traumatic injury which resulted in the respiratory distress,” and alerted the Indiana Department of Child Services, Risner said. Ayden died on Sunday. His death was ruled a homicide from multiple injuries suffered in child abuse.

As the sheriff’s office and child welfare officials investigate Ayden’s death, the boy’s parents — Michael Zylstra, 27, and Dannae Zylstra, 18 — face drug and child neglect charges stemming from a search of their home following Ayden’s hospitalization.

During the search of the home in the 100 block of Hoehn Street in Wheatfield, Ind., deputies found at least eight items associated with drug use, some of which contained traces of cocaine, methamphetamine and a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.

The next day, on March 3, deputies arrested the married couple during a traffic stop in Wheatfield while Ayden remained at the hospital in Chicago.

The Zylstras face felony charges of neglect of a dependent, maintaining a common nuisance, possession of a methamphetamine and possession of cocaine or narcotic drug and a misdemeanor charge of possession of paraphernalia.

Michael Zylstra was being held in lieu of $12,000 bail. His wife has been released on bond.

Michael Zylstra has declined to speak with investigators, but Dannae Zylstra has cooperated with the investigation, Risner said.




One Child Is Too Many

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