Police report sites filthy conditions inside apartment where 2-year-old fell to his death from window

Back • Publication Date: July 26, 2023 • Fiscal & Economics, Health & Housing

New details show officers found conditions inside the apartment, “abysmal”, with bugs, mold, piles of garbage and clothes soiled in feces.

HARTFORD, Conn. — FOX61 learned new information Wednesday about a tragic incident in Hartford that took place on Monday where a two-year-old died after falling from a 3rd story window.

The details of an eight-page police report describe how five children were not only left alone in their Hartford apartment without adult supervision but were also living in filth.

FOX61 returned to the scene of the tragedy Wednesday to discover a makeshift memorial that now marks the memory of little Cornelius. He’s the two-year-old Hartford boy who died after falling from the 3rd story window of his apartment on Capitol Ave.

 “The tragedy that we saw here is an example of the really awful things that can happen when families are struggling to get by,” remarked Eli Sabin from Connecticut Voices for Children.

The boy’s mother, 34-year-old Tabitha Frank, is charged with 10 counts of risk of injury to a minor. But the circumstances are complex. Evidence suggests Frank may have left Cornelius and her four other kids alone to Uber drive just to earn money for food and diapers.

“Oftentimes poverty is conflated for neglect. There are times when families struggle for basic needs,” explained Vannessa Dorantes, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

New details from the police report show officers found conditions inside the apartment, “abysmal”, with bugs, mold, piles of garbage and clothes soiled in feces. The apartment did not have air conditioning. Officials say the moral of the story is if you see or smell something, say something.

“We live in a time where everybody stays to themselves. There’s an African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child. You don’t use it as a cliche. But the notion that if you believe a child is in danger, dialing 911 is the first option,” said Commissioner Dorantes.

Connecticut does not have any law dictating at what age it’s appropriate to leave children home alone. The welfare agency Connecticut Voices for Children is advocating at the state level for a child tax credit, expanding access to affordable childcare and holding landlords accountable.

“There are a lot of families across the state who are really struggling to get by. Put food on the table and make sure they have childcare for their kids and a safe affordable place to live,” added Sabin.

Commissioner Dorantes is urging people to change the child welfare narrative.

“It’s very important to de-stigmatize the need to ask for help. In very rare instances children will be removed from their families. The vast majority of the contact we have with families is to connect them to community-based services.”

It’s important to note that while Frank is charged with multiple counts of risk of injury to a minor she hasn’t been charged directly in connection to her son’s death. Frank is set to appear in court on August 3.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Authors: Matt Caron •  Source: Fox 61 • View

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