A 4-year-old Union, New Jersey, boy was found emaciated and nearly starved in the apartment he shared with his mother on Tuesday after police found him alone, living with his mother’s dead body for days.
Police were notified by a building janitor, who called police after noticing a foul odor coming from the apartment.
Police went to the home, recognized the odor as a decomposing body and saw a young, terribly thin boy through a crack in the door. The boy apparently tried to open the door, but there was a chain on it that he couldn’t reach, so the door was slightly open. Police believe the boy was stuck in the apartment with his dead mother for up to a week.
The mother is believed to have died of natural causes according to NBC News.
Police also believe that the boy used to live with his grandmother and his mother but his grandmother had moved to a nursing home recently.
The mother’s body had lotion rubbed all over it. Police believe the youngster had rubbed the lotion on his mother’s dead body, trying to cover up the stench.
A neighbor, Siobhan Bertaud, who lives in the same apartment complex, but not adjacent to the boy’s apartment, told NBC News, “If you step inside of the building, it’s only four apartments, so you know what’s going on in the neighbor’s apartment, even without knowing what’s going on because the walls are thin. And you can hear somebody crying.”
“No one heard him?” Bertraud asked in disbelief.
The boy was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for dehydration and malnutrition. The boy reportedly told the police he was really hungry but was unable to open the refrigerator because he was too weak. The boy is expected to make a full recovery.