Severely Autistic Boy’s Remains Go Unclaimed And I’m Starting To Despise His Mother (UPDATE)
You might remember Jarrod Tutko, Jr. from the heartbreaking story back in August about him: the severely autistic boy was dead for days in his feces-smeared Harrisburg home before his father rolled his body in a sheet and presented it to his mother, who hadn’t seen the child for years prior to his death.
Well, his story just got a lot sadder. According to PennLive, the boy’s remains will be cremated and interred in Potter’s Field because no one came to claim his remains:
Per state law, Hetrick said the coroner’s office is supposed to cremate or bury an unclaimed body within 10 days. And after speaking with Kimberly Tutko shortly after receiving her son’s body early last month, Hetrick said he didn’t hear fromÂ herÂ for at least 19 days. That’s when he said he decided to cremate the boy’s remains
Hetrick said when he did speak with her, it seemed as though Kimberly Tutko was experiencing financial troubles and was unsure whether she could afford to bury her son’sÂ remains. He said he recommended two agencies she could contact for burial assistance. But he said he never heard back from her.
“I don’t know what happened. We had trouble getting back in contact with her,” Hetrick said during a Monday afternoon press conference on an unrelated Harrisburg homicide that occurred early Saturday morning. “I don’t know if she herself is ill, and I had to make some decision.”
I will admit that I was willing to give Kimberly Tutko the benefit of the doubt when I first heard about this story. After all, I have no idea what it is like to raise as many sick children as she did with virtually no money. But the more I hear about this entire ordeal, the more I find myself growing angry with her apathy.
Because it does strike me as incredibly apathetic. The child lived in filth. He died unnoticed, and now he will be interred in anonymity. The coroner in this case seems like a pretty decent guy; he even says that he was under the impression that the Tutkos were out of resources, and referred Mrs. Tutko to agencies that could help defray the cost of burying her son, which was met with complete silence.
It’s taken this long for the remains to be released because the Tutko case is so complicated; last month the autopsy showed that starvation and dehydration played a major role in Jarrod’s death, but it is difficult to tell whether these factors were caused by neglect or related to his Fragile X.
Jarrod Tutko Sr. has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, the concealment of a child’s death and abuse of a corpse.
This entire case makes me incredibly sad. I can’t imagine raising a child that needed such care, but that’s an easier leap to make for me than imagining leaving such a child to rot in a disgusting room and then allowing him to be buried alongside other unclaimed bodies.
Too bad you can’t charge people for being despicable, because that’s what kind of person it takes to do this.
UPDATE:Â Anonymous donors have stepped in to buy a plot and headstone.