(CHICAGO TRIBUNE) A Chicago area boy who died Thursday had been living in a home filled with insects, animal feces and more than 100 dead cats, prosecutors said today as the boy's mother appeared in court on abuse charges.
Lydia Price, 49, allowed her son to "live in squalor," a prosecutor said during a hearing on Monday. The home was described as "filled with cockroaches, flies, animal feces, wild animals such as raccoons, squirrels as well as 109 deceased cats."
In all, more than 200 animals were found in the home. Many of those found alive were malnourished and diseased and the house has had no running water in six months..
Price was charged with criminal abuse and neglect in the death of her 14-year old disabled son, as well as endangerment of a child. Price was also charged with neglecting another disabled child, a girl who has autism, authorities said.
Paramedics received a call Thursday that the boy was lying unresponsive on the lawn at the family home in Berwyn, a Chicago suburb, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
An autopsy determined he died of natural causes related to bronchopneumonia.
Police obtained a search warrant to enter the two-story home and amid feces and squalor, they found more than 200 animals, including nearly 100 birds, an overweight raccoon, a fruit bat, two dogs and several kinkajous, raccoon-like creatures native to Central and South America.
Several workers needed medical treatment after groups of cats attacked them while they tried to place other cats in carrier cages, officials said.
Three of the boy's siblings, ages 12 to 17, were in the custody of the Department of Children of Family Services after being treated for flulike symptoms, authorities said. A fourth sibling, 18, was being treated at the hospital, said Kendall Marlowe, a spokesman for the agency.
Officials said it was unclear whether the animals or living conditions were responsible for the children's illnesses.
Marlowe said that the children had been kept isolated at the home.
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