Michael Guzman: Child, 5, Found Dead At Queens Home Despite 13 Visits By Child Welfare Workers

A 5-year-old boy was found dead on Sunday, despite 13 visits to the home by child welfare workers.

According to the New York Daily News, five-year-old Michael Guzman was found dead in his teenage sister’s bedroom in Queens Sunday afternoon. Phyllis Reinoso, the child’s 29-year-old mother, said she discovered her son, cold and unconscious with vomit around his mouth, at approximately 4:10 p.m. on Sunday.

Reinoso said she immediately called 911. The emergency personnel responded to the home, located at 109th Ave. near Inwood St. in Jamaica, and found that the child had been dead for nearly 12 hours by the time he was discovered, based on his low body temperature. They rushed him to Jamaica Hospital, but tragically, he wasn’t able to be revived.

“They had him in their arms, the medics. I thought that he was gone because I never saw anything like that before, for them to bring him out without a stretcher,” neighbor Dolores Green, 81, said. “They put him in the car and they didn’t put on the sirens when they left.”

Apparently, the night before Guzman’s death, his parents had left the home to go to their friend’s house and had left him with his other siblings, ages 15, 12, 11, 9, and 2. Michael, who had epilepsy, was reportedly given his medication before his parents left. When they later arrived home, Michael was asleep with his sister on the couch, and although he was having trouble breathing, his parents simply put him to bed. From there, they neglected to check on him until 12 hours later.

Guzman’s siblings shared a different take on what happened that night. They said his 15-year-old sister had put him in his bed, which he shared with his 11-year-old sister, who said she put a blanket on him at around 11 a.m. on Sunday because his skin felt really cold.

No signs of trauma were immediately found on Michael’s body, and an autopsy will determine his official cause of death. Alice Guzman, Michael’s aunt, said she spoke to his mother, who said she blames his death on the medication he was taking.

“Phyllis said it was the medication that killed him,” said Alice. “The doctor prescribed too large a dose when he was in the hospital.”

“We do not have a clear take on the cause of death, and I’m waiting to understand that better — whether it is a medical condition or something else that happened here,” Mayor de Blasio said Monday night. “But I’m waiting for more information also on what the nature of any history might have been with city agencies.”

Both of Michael’s parents are being interviewed by the police as the investigation into his death continues. According to Crime Online,child welfare workers had made 13 visits to the Queens home, and of those 13 visits, eight of them reported signs of abuse or neglect, two of which involved Michael. So, why didn’t the Administration for Children’s Services intervene? According to a statement, the ACS would only say that the agency and the NYPD “are actively investigating the circumstances of this incident.”

“We are saddened by this troubling news and are investigating the circumstances leading to this child fatality, along with the NYPD,” the agency said.

Do you think Michael Guzman’s death was the result of abuse and neglect? Do you think the parents should be held responsible? Leave your comments below.

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