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Mother Dies in Apartment, Leaving 3-Year-Old Alone for Days Eating Spilled Cereal Off the Floor

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EAST HARTFORD, CT (AP) – A 3-year-old girl lived alone with her dead mother for several days in their apartment with nothing to eat but cereal that had spilled on a floor, police officials said.

Authorities said the child’s 37-year-old mother was found dead in a bedroom of the East Hartford home on Monday when a social worker went to check on the girl because she hadn’t been in day care for several days. Police identified the mother on Thursday as Twanna Toler.

Lt. Joshua Litwin said investigators do not know exactly how long the girl had been living alone but said it was “definitely more than a couple of days.” The girl was dehydrated but is expected to be OK, Litwin said. She was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.

Police said they found no evidence of a crime or break-in. Investigators are awaiting results of an autopsy by the medical examiner’s office.

A neighbor, Susan Tash, said the television in Toler’s apartment was very loud over the past week, and she heard the girl scream and cry. She said she just thought the child was being fussy. She said she had no idea anything was wrong.

“I was mortified,” Tash said after Toler’s body was found. “It hit me hard because the noise upstairs and I felt kind of responsible.”

The social worker who went to the apartment Monday knocked on the door and got the child to unlock it, Litwin said. The girl believed her mother was sleeping, the officer said.

It wasn’t immediately clear who has custody of the child. The state Department of Children and Families was called in.

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