Bags of Florida Crystals cane sugar roll down a conveyer belt after filling at the Florida Crystals Corp. sugar mill, refinery and power plant in Okeelanta, Florida July 9, 2008. The company, controlled by the Cuban-born Fanjul brothers, Alfonso and Jose, is in the spotlight following the State of Florida's announced $1.75 billion land purchase deal of U.S. Sugar Corp to restore endangered wildlife habitat in the Florida Everglades. The restoration plan probably cannot work without the Florida Crystals land as well. To match feature USA-SUGAR/BARONS (Photo : REUTERS/Joe Skipper )
New Jersey police were forced to kick down the door in order to save a malnourished four-year-old child who was trapped inside an apartment living with his mother's dead body for days.
Rescue workers found the little boy naked, dehydrated and weighing in at only 26 pounds on the floor of a tidy apartment complex in Union Township, about 15 miles from New York City, on Tuesday. A chain lock on the door prevented the toddler from escaping the house, plus he was too weak to open the refrigerator, so he survived off of a bag of sugar until help arrived.
"The only way to describe the little boy was it was like a scene from World War II, from a concentration camp, he was that skinny," Officer Joseph Sauer told The Associated Press. "I mean, you could see all his bones."
The underweight child may have been neglected even before his mother's death, say authorities. They believe that his 38-year-old mother, Kiana Workman, died of natural causes two to six days prior. Neighbors told reporters that she was sickly.
Officers were called to the apartment after neighbors complained about a terrible stench. Police say that the little boy put lotion on his mom in an attempt to try to help her.
Officer Sylvia Dimenna, who traveled to the hospital and remained there with the boy, said he was very bright and articulate but tired.
"He was quiet," Dimenna said of the boy moments after rescuing him from the apartment. "I just said: 'You're OK. You're OK buddy, we're going to take care of you. He just hugged me, and I took him to the ambulance."
The hungry tot requested a grilled cheese sandwich and a juice, said police.
Dimenna, a 24-year veteran of the force, added that "he said he missed his mommy."
The boy, now in state custody, was treated for malnourishment and dehydration.
Police said they were getting calls from around the world from people offering to adopt the child or donate money or toys.
"He's very bright, he's very engaging, very articulate, and I really think that, given all the help he's getting, he's really going to do well, and I'm praying for that for him," Dimenna said.