The parents of a 5 year old boy are being questioned by police about his death, and sources say the family was on the radar of the city's child welfare agency. So is this another case of a child slipping through the cracks? Queens Reporter Ruschell Boone has more.
Watching investigators go in and out of this two-story home on 109th Avenue has been unsettling for residents on this quiet block in Jamaica.
They are still shaken that a little boy was found unconscious there on Sunday.
"It's very sad," said one neighbor. "Very unfortunate. I'm a mother of 4 and that is a devastating thing."
Police say the 5-year-old Michael Guzman was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"I don't wish that on any parent you know," said another neighbor. "I really hope it's nothing sinister at all."
The boy was one of six children. A family member told us he suffered from epilepsy and was constantly sick. However, sources say, the Administration for Children's Services had visited the home 13 times.
In eight of those visits, social workers saw enough evidence to support a claim that a child was abused or neglected.
Some neighbors said the children seemed fine. Others were concerned.
"It didn't seem like they had much guidance or someone watching them a lot," said one neighbor. "The young girls 10 and 12 years old would be out 11 o'clock at night. I asked them why weren't they being watched? And that's what they said. 'Mom is working and dad is never here.'"
Another neighbor who did not want to be identified said he too was concerned about the children and reported the family to ACS.
The case is the latest to raise concerns about the city's oversight of endangered children.
A city report charged that “a perfect storm of human errors” led to the death of 6-year-old Zymere Perkins in Harlem in September
And in November, a 3-year-old in Brooklyn, Jaden Jordan, was fatally beaten. Social workers investigating a child-abuse complaint rang the doorbell at the home but received no answer.
The medical examiner's office said an autopsy of Michael Guzman found no sign of a blunt force injury, but was inconclusive in determining his cause of death. The other children in the home have been removed, while the police investigation continues.