9-Year-Old Boy's Abandoned Body Makes Horrific Neglect Case Even Worse

Jarrod Tutko Jr.By all accounts, 9-year-old Jarrod Tutko Jr. died in absolutely deplorable conditions. His father Jarrod Tutko Sr. was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, abuse of a corpse, and concealment of the death of a child. And now it seems that after years of leaving him to rot in confinement, Jarrod's own mother never bothered to claim his body.

After 19 days of trying to get in touch with Kimberly Tutko, the Dauphin County Coroner's office in Pennsylvania cremated Jarrod's remains as per state law. The coroner said the mother never came forward, despite the fact that he suggested agencies she could contact for burial assistance. It was announced that the boy's ashes would be buried along with the ashes of the county's other unclaimed bodies later this year.

It's a tragic end to what has already been a nearly incomprehensible story of neglect.

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The coroner said he is weeks away from releasing a final autopsy report on the cause of Tutko Jr.'s death, but he's convinced child abuse and neglect were involved. The boy, who had Fragile X syndrome, was found dead in his home after his mother Kimberly Tutko called the authorities on August 1. She said her husband, Jarrod Tutko Sr., had informed her that their son had been dead for several days.

Police said Tutko Sr., 38, admitted that he hadn't checked on his son for about two days before finding him dead on July 29 in his filthy, feces-spattered bedroom. Tutko Sr. had initially tried to cover up the death by using mothballs and bleach to mask the smell of decomposition, claiming he "did not know how to tell Kimberly."

Here's a news segment about the incident:

The Tutkos had kept Jarrod Tutko Jr. in his bedroom most of the time, due to behavioral issues stemming from his disorder. His mother said she hadn't seen him since 2010, when she decided to avoid contact to lower the chances of giving her ailing daughter an infection. Most neighbors didn't even know Jarrod existed. Kimberly says her husband was solely responsible for Jarrod Jr.'s welfare, and that's why she didn't know about his death:

I had nothing to do with it. I  don't understand why he hid it from me. They're saying you didn't ask about your son? I ask every single day every single night. 'Hey did you feed Junior? How's Junior? Oh he's fine and yes I fed him.' (...) I didn't try to cover this up. That's not who I am. I love my children to death. Nobody understands.

According to the coroner,

The conditions of the house, and the condition of the children in this case, were horrendous. I've been a coroner for a long, long, long time. I have not seen this ... Well, I have seen it, but it's only rare. Nine years old, and I'm not going to release the weight at this time. But the weight was phenomenally low. He was dehydrated. He had nutritional starvation.

Jarrod Nicholas Tutko Sr., 38, is being held in Dauphin County Prison with his bail set at $500,000. Kimberly Tutko has five surviving children, most with severe illnesses or handicaps.

The Dauphin County Coroner's office was forced to cremate Tutko Jr.'s remains last week, but The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, based in Harrisburg, has launched a foundation to properly lay the boy to rest. According to the organization's CEO,

We're working with the coroner's office. We had a grave donated [at a local cemetery], and he is going to have a private funeral within the next two weeks.

My god, I don't even know what to say about this. Well, I guess I do: I can't believe this mother's still in charge of five children. I can't believe some moms are being arrested for letting their perfectly-cared-for children play at the park by themselves, and this woman's free to give interviews about how she loved her son even though he was locked in a bedroom and she hadn't seen him since 2010. And most of all, I can't believe parents like this actually exist.

Do you think this woman should be in jail along with her husband?


Image via Fox

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