Matthew Tirado suffered from severe intellectual disabilities and autism At the age of 17 years, he was 5’9″ tall but weighed only 84 pounds (38 kgs). His 34 year old mother* had (apparently to prevent him stealing food) screwed all of the cupboards closed and locked the refrigerator. So severe were the restrictions that at the end the Connecticut teenager was reduced to foraging in the rubbish for food and to consuming oils and condiments. On 14 February 2017 he died of fatal child abuse syndrome with dehydration and malnutrition. His mother took no steps to secure medical help for him. She was charged with first degree manslaughter.
The 2005 Connecticut Code §53a-55 relevantly provides that
A person is guilty of manslaughter in the first degree when … under circumstances evincing an extreme indifference to human life, [s]he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes the death of another person.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Hartford Superior Court. Her lawyer noted that she was herself intellectually limited and had grown up in circumstances of neglect. Judge Baldini noted that the defendant had “failed to provide her son the basic necessities of life”. Painfully, she observed that “Ms Tirado’s intellectual limitations and becoming a parent at a very young age coupled with her son’s significant cognitive impairments created a perfect storm for Matthew’s untimely death”
Pursuant to a plea agreement the Court sentenced her to 17 years imprisonment, six years of which was suspended, with five years probation.
State v Tirado (2018), NY Times, 5 June 2018; Hartford Courant, 5 June 2018.
* Alert readers will note the age difference. Matthew’s mother was impregnated at the age of 15 by then-40 year old Pedro Gomez. In subsequent news reports, Gomez claimed to be upset at Matthew’s fate despite having left the defendant to raise her child as a single mother. My views on that point are not fit to be put in writing.