Toddler survives alone for days
The human drive to live is just an incredible force of nature.
In what Sacramento police describe as a "miracle," a 2-year-old boy survived on cat food for up to six days on his own and was found Thursday after his mother died in their North Sacramento home.
The child - whom Sacramento County Child Protective Services identified as Noah - and his mother were discovered at 10:39 a.m. after police forced their way into the home on the 3000 block of Judah Street in the city's Hagginwood neighborhood, said police Officer Konrad Von Schoech.
A CPS worker had gone to check on the family that morning because the mother suffered from chronic illness, Von Schoech said.
No one answered the door, but the worker heard the child crying inside and called 911.
Once inside the home, police and firefighters found the mother's body, Von Schoech said.
Investigators found evidence that the boy was able to survive by eating "whatever was in sight and within reach," he said.
"At this point, we're looking at it as a miracle that this kid survived such a tragedy, especially with being locked in this house with no access to the outside world," Von Schoech said.
Police believe the mother had been dead for up to six days and the boy had been eating cat food and boy is undergoing medical tests and was placed in protective custody.
"We're very fortunate the social worker went to check on the family when she did," Von Schoech said.
CPS spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said Thursday that a relative on June 16 called the child abuse hotline out of concern because the mother had been critically ill.
CPS responded that same day and several subsequent times, Slothower said. Thursday was a scheduled visit, she added.
"We're really sad about the situation, but very proud of our worker," Slothower said. "Our workers save lives every day. This is just one story we can share."
The story continues with this background information:
Mother and son lived alone in the brick duplex at the corner of Del Paso Boulevard and Judah Street.
Neighbors described the woman as frail and said she led a private, quiet life.
Rachel Cortez said the woman had worked as a waitress in several local restaurants.
Cortez said the woman's grandmother recently died, and was unsure whether she had more family living in the area. The woman went to church every Wednesday and Sunday, Cortez said.
"We talked every once in a while," she said. "We'd talk about our jobs serving in restaurants."
Ray Villarreal, who lives across the common driveway in another multiplex unit owned by the same landlord, said the woman kept to herself. She occasionally would ask Villarreal to fix things in her home, he said.
"She's a nice gal," Villarreal said.
The blinds at the duplex were drawn Thursday. A wall unit airconditioner sat motionless in one window. Brightly colored gel decorations had been stuck in the next window.
A garden hose sprawled over from the dry grass onto the walkway leading to the front door, where a sparkly turquoise bumper sticker heralded, "Protected by Angels."