A Pennsylvania couple have been sentenced to decades in prison for starving their disabled 9-year-old son to death in 2014.
On Dec. 16 Jarrod Tutko Sr., 39, was sentenced to 21 to 42 years in prison and his wife, Kimberly Tutko, 40, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years, reports Daily Mail.
The pair both pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and child endangerment in the death of Jarrod Tutko Jr., whose decaying body was discovered in August 2014 in the family’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, home.
The elder Tutko also pleaded guilty for covering up the death. During the initial hearing, prosecutors told the court the Tutkos would have missed out on $710 in welfare payments for the month of August had it become known that their son died before the first of the month.
The boy had a genetic disorder, fragile X syndrome, which has symptoms similar to autism. Police say the 9-year-old weighed less than 17 pounds at the time of his death.
The postmortem analysis determined the boy died of malnutrition and neglect. The story started to come to light on Aug. 1, 2014 when a detective in Harrisburg answered a 911 call from the Tutko home about an unconscious child.
Detective Rodney Shoeman said he noticed a strong smell of decomposition as soon as he got out of his car and approached the Tutko residence where the Tutkos and their six children, ranging in age from 3 to 14, lived.
All the couple’s children, except one, had severe disabilities. The judge severed the Tutkos' parental rights for the remaining children, who are thriving in foster care, reports PennLive.
The younger Tutko's bedroom was on the third floor and had a lock on the outside, had no lights and no air circulation. His room was covered in feces, with maggots and flies. Kimberly told the detective she tried to fight the stink with mothballs and bleach, assuming it came from dead mice, but it was in vain.
Kimberly told Shoeman that caring for Jarrod Jr. was solely the father’s responsibility and that she was the primary caregiver for at least one of the other children. Kimberly said had not seen the boy in four years, as she did not want to spread bacteria to Arianna, who was on breathing and feeding tubes.
According to Shoeman, the boy died during a two-day period in which the father and 9-year-old didn’t interact. The elder Tutko claimed he tried to revive his son using CPR, but hadn't reported the death, said the detective.
The couple also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and child endangerment of their 10-year-old disabled daughter, Arianna, who has a brain injury.
Authorities discovered the daughter in dismal condition while they were inspecting the death of her brother.
When Arianna was discovered, she was reportedly close to death. A Penn State Hershey Medical Center pediatrician told a grand jury the 10-year-old girl had earwax on her face, her eyes were matted from discharges and dirt, and she had dense scales all over her skin, reported WHTM-TV.