Hill District Infant’s Death Under Investigation

HILL DISTRICT (KDKA) – The death of a five-month-old girl remains under investigation in the Hill District.

According to authorities, Zyian Praise Johnson was wrapped in a blanket, sleeping on the couch of her home Sunday morning when paramedics were called for reports of a child found not breathing.

It happened in the 800-block of Eckstein Place in the Oak Hill housing complex.

Police say the little girl had been sleeping with her mother when a blanket worked itself up and accidently cut off her air supply.

Police say the call to 911 came in shortly after 9 a.m. The child was taken to Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead short time later.

Family members say the little girl’s mother was protective of both her children, always keeping a watchful eye.

“We were shocked. She always talked about her daughter, and her little baby she just had. There’s no complaints about her at all,” said Ruth Carpenter, a relative to the family. “A real tragic accident and mistakes happen.”

Police have not filed any charges in the case, but homicide detectives were called as part of the initial investigation.

An official cause or manner of death has not yet been released by the medical examiner’s office.

Stay With KDKA.com For More Details

  • erica

    How do you know she was irresponsible???Its a horrible tragedy and an accident.Seeing as how you’ve never been an exhausted new mother I guess that’s what you would say.I have slept with my children swaddled in my arms,its not bad parenting.

  • deanna

    so sad!! this was accident it could have happen to anyone! so please no name calling this poor mother has just lost her baby dont judge her! my thoughts and prayers go out to this family!!

  • Lynney

    @critter Breed like rabbits are you serious it only said a 5month old baby.. You sound like some kind of racist which judging by your screen name is probably a good indication of what you look like.. Any way it’s a tragedy none the less…

  • love

    Thank You God for allowing us sinners to have perfect innocent babies and thank you GOD for helping mothers to love and care for these helpless babies and may this baby see its mother again in heaven if the Mother is in good status with you when she dies

  • Teresa

    i didn’t know until recently that sleeping with your child on a couch or even recliner can cause a baby to suffocate we all need to be taught these things so this doesn’t happen. :( it’s sad this happened.

  • Taylor

    I know the family personally and Zyian meant the world to her mother.she lived for her two daughters so please keep the harsh comments to yourself.do not throw salt on her because you don’t know her.until you are put in her shoes, all I ask is that you pray.

  • Julia

    I am so sorry for the mom. I have two babies myself and I don’t understand how can the baby suffocate. When the cover goes over my babies faces they can still breath fine. If it becomes tight for some reason they would automatically start screaming. This should be a normal instinct, so I don’t understand why did that baby die.

  • Chibi

    I know this family, it was an accident so knock off the rude and racist comments. This mother is severly hurting, please pray for her as much as you can God will heal her and pull her through this its a sad thing indeed

  • Loving me

    Accidents DOES happen I also kno the mother personally n any1 else that knows her knows how WONDERFUL of a mother she is she would never put her children in harms way so clearly u all our judging without knowing u r NOT GOD we will all have our judgement day jus worry about yours!! May you all keep this family n ur thoughts and prayers PLEASE! And once again tragic accident does and can happen! Zyian left knowing how much her mommy loved her (tears)

  • G2

    Ive know for a long time u should never lay with an infant for fear of exactly kind of thing happening someone else here mentioned this also it needs to be pulled to the front and have the news educate people about this our families prayers got out to the mom and baby just remember one thing that was brought to my attention again today in a crisis at our house and please dont take it the wrong way but God never gives you more than you can handle and some things are meant to be it was that babies time and he needed that child for something God bless from our family to yours

  • Pamela Wolfe

    i have two children. I know there have been times i would be laying down feeding a bottle to my baby…and be soo exhausted that i feel asleep with my child. THankfully nothing happened to my children. But i can so understand why and how this happened. It is so easy when you lay down with a child to soothe it to sleep with a bottle that you yourself can fall asleep with them. I pray the mother does not blame herself it is a very innocent mistake.

    God Bless this mother and family

  • billyd

    my heart goes out to the mother and im certain it was truly an accident but i do mot see any bad remarks so what are you all talking about?

    • Chibi

      I am guessing the rude remarks were deleted….which im glad they should have been

  • Sami

    My heart goes out to this poor mother. I can’t even bear the thought of this happening to my 7 month old. When I heard this on the news this morning I ran in and checked in on my son. Magee hoispital makes you watch videos telling you not to do this and makes you sign a paper saying you watched them to prevent things like this, So could this be a case of SIDS?

    • Marriagebeforechildrenplease

      No SIDS, just a child that was smothered by a mother’s carelessness. There are all sorts of things about how children should be put to bed, what can and can not be in the crib, how the blanket and pillow should be etc. I guess Magee’s didn’t teach that. They really should be pushing birth control and condoms on everyone. I started going there for gyno care when I was in college, and still do because it’s easier than switching and I go to PREVENT having children. Meanwhile hundreds of little unmarried pregnant kids and women walk around. Some with a man, some not. PREVENT UNTIL READY!

  • brittany

    my rayers go to the mother Nd her oldest daughter may god be then & guide them thru this strom of pain…. just pls keep her & her family n your prayer.sz and plz dnt for once under judge her bcuz your not in her shoe’s… this mother iz hurtin n away all parents.sz would hate 2 feel just pray 4 her.. (r.i.p zyian) a child of god

  • brittany

    #(spell check) prayers

    • GrammarPolice

      you forgot “is,” “in,”hurtinG,” “and,” “please,” “don’t,” “because,” “to,” and “shoes” doesn’t need a ‘. I know, I know, everyone is going to scream at me for doing that but seriously, this slang and text talk needs to STOP.

      I feel for this woman, I know it must be hell waking up to something like that. I hope they find out if there was another factor to the death (like an illness) or if it actually was the blanket and how it managed to suffocate the child.

  • http://www.lucklike.com/blog/hill-district-infant%e2%80%99s-death-under-investigation/ Hill District Infant’s Death Under Investigation | Pen China

    […] Hill District Infant’s Death Under Investigation HILL DISTRICT (KDKA) – The death of a five-month-old girl remains under investigation in the Hill District. According to authorities, Zyian Praise Johnson was wrapped in a blanket, sleeping on the couch of her home […] Read more on CBS Pittsburgh […]

  • Angel

    This poor family has to suffer with a lost of a Beatiful Baby. Yes we all are taught to never sleep with our children but as we all know being a mother is not all fun and games. Getting relaxed and settled in with children can be hard. We all have done it before. Do you all know that those big comfortable covers that we all have for our baby can kill them too. They breath in the particles. It’s all can hurt them its just some of us are a little more blessed than other. Judgement is not called for PRAYER IS. I PRAY STRENGTH FOR THIS FAMILY.


    @MARRIAGEBEFORECHILDREN Do u honestly think this accident couldn’t happen if u was married b4 u had kids or if u waited til u was 30 to have kids!!Birth control doesn’t have anything 2 do with the fact that there is a WONDERFUL MOTHER hurting and needing our prayers! N u say prevent until ready, maybe she was READY!! I PRAY for JUDGEMENTAL people!! YES we have to be more careful but things happen! I continue 2 pray for this family this got 2 be a hard thing 2 have 2 deal with. Zyian has her wings now I’m sure she goin protect mommy n her big sister


    My heart goes out to the women and her daughter my god be with you …………STOP THE HATE @ MARRIAGEBEFORECHILDREN IF YOU KNOW ABOUT BEING A GOOD PARENT AT 30 ACT LIKE IT AND STOP SPEAKING LIKE A TEEN MOM .

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