Katiria Tirado, 33, of Hartford, was charged after being arrested last month on charges of starving and neglecting her children, particularly disabled teen, Matthew Tirado, who died with broken bones, bruises, and weighing 84 pounds, at 17 years old.
Matthew Tirado, was autistic and non-verbal. Katiria Tirado had been under investigation by child services before, but they closed the case on her just months before the death of the teenager. The mother has had a history of abuse and neglect, state records going back to the child’s first grade class.
The investigation is turning up more instances of absolute loss of supervision. Tirado began to block access to the autistic child from child care services. Matthew Tirado had also been absent from school for months, and despite reports from teachers and faculty, child services still closed the case.
There was a second child in the house, Matthew’s 9-year-old sister. Details about her case have not been released due to her young age, but she is currently safe with child services.
The Hartford Courant has more:
Eagan’s confirmation intensified questions over why the state’s child-protection department closed a neglect investigation on Matthew’s mother shortly before the teenager died.
DCF maintains the abuse registry. It is a list of all those who have had allegations of child abuse or neglect confirmed by DCF and who pose “a risk to the health, safety or well-being of children.”
DCF ceased supervision of Matthew’s mother even though her son, who had autism and was nonverbal, hadn’t been in school for months, and despite an abuse and neglect history on the mother’s part that stretched back to when Matthew was in first grade, according to Eagan’s testimony Thursday afternoon before the committee on children.
Panel members had strong reactions.
Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, said it was “shocking” that DCF closed its case while the mother, Katiria V. Tirado, was refusing to provide the agency’s caseworkers access to her son. Matthew died Feb. 14.
Eagan said her office, a state watchdog agency with subpoena power that serves as staff to the Child Fatality Review Panel, is looking into the roles of all the public agencies that were involved with Matthew during his life.
Eagan said she has questions about how the boy was allowed to miss month after month of classes at Oak Hill School in Bristol, where he had been placed by the Hartford school system, and why DCF caseworkers did not make contact with Matthew and his sister in the eight months leading up to the department’s decision to close its case in January.
Hartford police have charged Tirado with cruelty to persons — a felony that police say may be elevated to a murder or manslaughter charge once the autopsy results come back.
“Matthew Tirado was an amazing and very likable student who walked into Burns Latino Studies Academy a few years ago for only a few weeks before moving on to another school,” wrote fund organizer and former Burns Academy principal Monica Brase.
“Although he had limited verbal communication abilities because of his autism, he was able to communicate his feelings, and I, along with other staff members at the school, fell IN LOVE with him,” said Brase, educator in the city.