4-year-old living on sugar, caring for dead mom’s body

UNION, New Jersey (PIX11) –  It was a foul odor coming from the apartment that alerted police to force open the chain-locked front door.

Once inside, Union police officers found a very malnourished and dehydrated 4-year-old boy in the living room, and the badly decomposing body of his mother on the floor of the bedroom. The child was surviving on sugar.

4-year-old living on sugar

Police believe the mother died of natural causes 4 to 6 days earlier.  “(I’m) very sorry for this boy and the lady,” said one neighbor.  “For this boy it’s a tragedy.”

The police director told PIX 11 that  the 4-year-old boy was “alert, spunky and talkative.” He said his fingers were hurting. He told police there was food in the refrigerator but that he couldn’t open the door.

Police also said the little boy had been rubbing lotion on his mother’s skin over the past four to six days to care for her.   Neighbors say the little boy’s grandmother had been hospitalized with a broken hip and that the boy’s mother hadn’t been looking well for months.

“I know she was sick. I haven’t seen the lady since January,” said a neighbor.

Another neighbor said he didn’t know what had happened, but that he is very sad that no one has time anymore to look out for their neighbors.

“So sad, very sad,” he added wistfully.

The boy is at University Hospital hospital in Newark in stable condition suffering from malnutrition and dehydration. He’s expected to make a full physical recovery.

Union police are awaiting the autopsy from the Union County Medical Examiner’s office to determine the exact time and cause of death.

Police are still trying to find the little boy’s relatives to see where he will live once he’s released from the hospital.