Left: Mug shots of Judy Gratton and Joseph Kahn, courtesy of News 10 Now
(Cortland, NY) While raiding a house for suspected illegal drugs, police in this upstate New York town made a sickening discovery.
Officers found a 5-year-old boy with Down syndrome who weighed just 15 pounds. The child was sitting in diapers full of his own waste, and his body was covered with lice.
The average weight for a typical five-year old boy is 44.5 pounds.
One neighbor said that she had repeatedly called Child Protective Services last year about the family.
"What I noticed, from day one, was after I became friends with Judy, she drank all day, the baby was on the floor," said neighbor Christina Stevens. "There was no interaction. The baby never had any solid food. She never changed him."
Police found five ounces of marijuana - most of which was packaged for sale - along with drug processing equipment.
Cockroaches and overflowing bags of soiled diapers littered the house. Police also found two other children (ages 11 and 12) who showed signs of malnutrition and neglect.
"Many of these officers have small children, have raised children and to find this small child in a crib infested with body lice, cockroaches, garbage and severely undernourished tugs at everybody's heart," said Police Chief Jim Nichols. "This mother showed a depraved indifference of human life and caused serious physical injury to her five-year-old son."
Police arrested the children's mother, 48-year old Judy Gratton and her live-in boyfriend Joseph Kahn. The couple faces charges of fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, plus two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
"We came upon the five-year old victim located in the apartment inside a play pen," said Nichols. "The officers were horrified."