Coroner says Mercer County teen’s death is worst case of abuse he’s seen

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Mercer County's coroner said the 14-year-old died of a blood condition brought on by blunt force trauma

MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) – Mercer County Coroner John Libonati said after doing the autopsy on a 14-year-old found dead in Delaware Township, it’s the worst case of abuse he’s seen in his 36 years as a coroner.

The victim has been identified as Antonio Juan Gonzalez, Jr.

Libonati said the teen died of hypovolemic shock — an emergency condition in which severe blood or fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. It can cause organs to stop working.

It happened as a result of blunt force trauma, according to the coroner.

Libonati said he could see significant signs of past and current physical abuse. He said the teen was significantly malnourished and “emaciated.”

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The boy was found dead inside of the mobile home where he lived with his father and 4-year-old sister.

The boy’s father, 33-year-old Antonio Juan Gonzalez, Sr., faces charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, concealing the death of a child, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and tampering with or fabricating evidence.

Gonzalez told police the boy hit his head on a cinderblock, according to a criminal complaint.

Another man, 29-year-old Paul Bacorn, is facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal conspiracy.

Gonzalez and Bacorn admitted to harshly punishing the boy, including hours-long timeouts and starvation, police said.

Both suspects were arraigned Friday. Gonzalez is being held without bond and Bacorn’s bond was set at $100,000.

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