A 1-year-old boy and his adoptive mother were found dead in their Los Angeles apartment after a concerned neighbor called 911.
Erika Tomassian appeared to have been feeding the baby when she collapsed and died. The 1-year-old was found dead in his chair after choking on some food, KTLA reported.
A second child, aged 2, was still alive but severely dehydrated.
Emergency services were called to the apartment Oct. 5, and firefighters broke into the building through the second-floor window, according to Mirror Online. The call was made at around 3 p.m. after a neighbor heard the 2-year-old child crying.
“It's very sad,” police spokeswoman Liliana Preciado told the New York Daily News. "He was fending for himself, opening drawers and trying to find food."
Tomassian, believed to have been in her mid 40s, was found in a seated position on the floor. She had been treated for bronchitis prior to her death, and police suggested she could have died from complications, KTLA reported.
The 2-year-old had been alone in the apartment with the dead bodies of his mother and brother for about two days. Concern grew when a neighbor who knew Tomassian could not get a hold of her.
“Over the last couple of days, he called and tried to check on her and got no response,” Los Angeles Police Department Lt. John Jenal told KTLA.
Estela Avendano, another neighbor, said she had often helped Tomassian out by babysitting the two boys, Nathan and Michael.
“What adds tragedy to this is ... that this woman had just opened up her heart and her home to these two boys and adopted them,” she said.
Nathan was treated at a nearby hospital and is recovering, Mirror reported.
Michael’s death was ruled accidental, and police do not believe any foul play was involved.