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A 15-month-old baby was trapped with her mother’s corpse for five days at a New York City homeless shelter and left covered in feces and dehydrated after her mother died of an accidental overdose, court documents reveal. .
Quraan Laboy, 31, plans to sue New York City and the Department of Homeless Services for $5 million in damages after workers at the East River Family Center discovered his daughter Lyric Laboy under a bed near of his mother’s body. reported the New York Post.
On July 25, the baby was found curled up next to the body of her mother Shelbi Westlake, 26, who authorities say had died of an accidental overdose days earlier, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court petition.
The baby was found “covered in human feces” and severely dehydrated, and was rushed to the hospital, according to court documents.
Westlake and her daughter lived in an apartment
The agency has denied that Lyric was left alone for five days, but did not clarify how long she was left unattended.
Westlake and her daughter lived in an apartment-like unit at the shelter at 325 East 104th St. in East Harlem for about three or four months while she was separated from Lamboy, her attorney Seth Harris told the Post.
No one checked on the mother and daughter until a neighbor reported there was a “bad smell” coming from the apartment, according to court documents.
Westlake last checked into the shelter on July 19, six days before her body was found, Laboy’s other attorney, Allison Keenan, told the Post.
“It’s amazing that she’s alive,” Harris said.
“Allowing a baby to remain with its dead mother for five days unnoticed not only highlights the indifference and inhumanity shown to those most in need, it also shows total malfeasance on the part of New York City and the Department of Homeless Services,” Keenan said.
The incident is under investigation and the shelter is now required to conduct same-night wellness checks for any resident who hasn’t signed the overnight roster, the Department of Homeless Services said.
Young Lyric, who lost seven pounds and suffered a “horrible” diaper rash from the incident, is still dealing with separation anxiety, Laboy said.
‘She always wakes up in the middle of the night, she’s kicking, she’s fighting, saying, ‘Mommy.’ I look at her and sometimes I start crying,” she said.
While Lyric has regained all of his weight, he has still been “routinely slapping his father while he sleeps to make sure he’s alive,” said Laboy’s attorney, Seth Harris.
Quraan Laboy Quick and Facts
- Quraan Laboy, 31, is planning to sue the City of New York and the Department of Homeless Services for $5 million in damages
- He claims his 15-month-old daughter was found huddled by the corpse of Shelbi Westlake, 26, who officials said died of an accidental overdose days earlier
- The baby was reportedly found ‘covered in human feces’ and badly dehydrated, and was rushed to the hospital
- No one checked in on the mother and daughter until a neighbor reported a ‘foul odor’ coming from the apartment
- Young Lyric, who lost seven pounds and suffered a ‘horrific’ diaper rash from the incident, is still dealing with separation anxiety, Laboy said