For two days, 4-year-old Bryan Allen ate maple syrup and drank milk to stay alive, sometimes calling out to his mother to tell her to wake up because he was hungry.
The boy’s neighbors heard his cries but didn’t think anything of it. They didn’t know that his mother had fallen down the stairs and broken her neck, and lay there dead while the child — still in his diapers — tried to survive, the Buffalo News recounted.
He thought his mother was sleeping.
Then on December 4, Rent-A-Center staff called long-time customer Shaleena Hamilton to follow up on a scheduled appointment, according to a later Buffalo News report. She didn’t answer — instead, her son, Bryan, did. Taijuan Littleton, an employee there, knew something was wrong.
Littleton — a father of three children himself — drove to the apartment and arrived to find a disturbing sight. He was able to see Shaleena, 43, collapsed on the floor, and Bryan nearby wearing only a diaper, WKBW reported.
“I realized right there it was not good,” he said.
— Marissa Perlman (@MPerlman4) December 14, 2015
From behind the closed door, he could hear the child’s voice. But he didn’t leave, assuming that everything was okay. Instead, he talked to the child while his co-workers at Rent-A-Center kept the boy on the phone.
Littleton did his best to coax him to open the door.
“Littleton said he heard the boy talking to his mother,” recalled Homicide Detective Sgt. Jim Dunham. “He asked the boy to open the door, but he didn’t. Littleton then looked through the window and saw the mother lying on the floor at the foot of the stairs. At that point, Littleton called 911. He also asked the boy again to open the door, and he did.”
The Rent-A-Center employee quickly shepherded the child away from the apartment and to his work truck.
“I wrapped him up in a cover and took him outside to my van because it was very cold that day, just to get him out of the house… Any decent human being would have done the same. I don’t think I did anything special.”
The community and Bryan’s family see his actions differently. To them, Taijuan saved the little boy’s life, rescuing him from a horrifying situation that could’ve continued for days.
Allen’s grandfather told WVIB that he was very appreciative of Taijuan’s actions “because if he hadn’t found him, there’s no telling how long he would’ve been in that house. So I appreciate it so much.”
The boy is doing a little better since he was found with his dead mother, though his cousin, Markita Buster, said the experience has been difficult for him. During his mother’s funeral, the child sat on his grandfather’s lap and said his mommy was sleeping.
Since police had to determine whether Hamilton’s death was a homicide, they conducted an autopsy right away and learned that she died of natural causes. She suffered a blood clot near her heart and died after falling down the stairs and breaking her neck.
4-y.o. Bryan Allen, alone in his apt for two days as mother died, about to get Xmas gifts at Buffalo Police HQ pic.twitter.com/DgWtcKZXS0
— Aaron Besecker (@AaronBesecker) December 14, 2015
The story of how her young son managed to survive two days after she died touched the police officers who investigated the case, so the department collaborated on buying a new bicycle for the child, hoping the gift would distract him for at least a little while. And once the community heard the story, they sent in tons and tons of gifts to help make the boy’s first Christmas without his mother special.
As for Littleton, he believes that the boy survived for a reason and that God led him to the apartment to save his life. He hopes that he grows up to be an “amazing adult.”
Bryan’s story is reminiscent of Brier Ineichen, a 15-month-old who survived perhaps a week without food or water after her grandmother died, as the Inquisitr previously reported.
[Image via LoloStock/Shutterstock]