Officers came to the Union, N.J. apartment after they received calls complaining of a horrible smell coming from it. After they had a maintenance staff member open the door, they had to break it down after a chain lock prevented them from entering.
They believe the woman died of natural causes. She was found lying dead next to her bed.
The boy was found in the living room, naked except for one shoe on the wrong foot. He was living off of sugar and weighed just 26 pounds.
"He's just a really sweet kid," Township of Union Police Officer Sylvia Dimenna said. Dimenna stayed with the boy as he received treatment for malnutrition and dehydration at Overlook Hospital.
"He knew his mom was sick and he said he tried to help her," she said. "I don't think he really understood the gravity of the situation, and because it was such a trauma for him, it wasn't a good idea to really try to explain the finality to him."
"A couple of times he said, 'I missed my mom.'"
Dimenna is currently studying for a master's degree in counseling and psychotherapy.
She sat with him at the hospital as he drank and ate.
"He was very tired obviously," she said. "But he was very bright and articulate."
They believe the boy was trapped inside the apartment for at least three days as his mother's body started decomposing.
The mother was identified as Kiana Workman, 38.
The boy is now in the custody of Division of Youth and Family Services.
A social worker told Dimenna that the boy is doing well and is in foster care.
"They put him with someone who really can address his issues at this point," she said.
An autopsy was originally scheduled for Wednesday but because of the body's state of decomposition, they had to postpone it.