17-Year-Old with Autism Starved to Death by His Mom Weighed Just 84 Lbs.: She 'Showed Real Hate'
A Connecticut woman will serve 11 years in prison in connection with the 2017 death of her teenage son, who had autism and died while suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration, according to multiple reports.
Katiria Tirado, 34, was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years in prison, which will be suspended after she serves 11 years, reports the Hartford Courant. The sentence was part of a guilty Alford plea she entered in March to first-degree manslaughter, in which she did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her, WFSB reports.
At the time of his death, Tirado’s 17-year-old son Matthew, who according to the Courant had severe intellectual disabilities, weighed just 84 lbs. His body had bruises and cuts, and the medical examiner said he died from “fatal child abuse syndrome with dehydration and malnutrition,” reports the Associated Press.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
The AP reports that an investigation by child welfare workers found revealed that Matthew had to rummage through the garbage for food because Tirado locked the refrigerator and screwed the cabinets shut.
At trial, Harford State’s Attorney Gail P. Hardy said Matthew had stomach pains and had been vomiting for about 24 hours before Tirado called an ambulance, the Courant reports. Matthew died hours later at the hospital.
It was the scandal that rocked America’s most storied political family and changed the course of presidential history. PEOPLE‘s first-ever podcast, Cover-Up, dives into the Chappaquiddick scandal and attempts to piece together what happened in the hours after Ted Kennedy’s car went over a narrow wooden bridge, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or wherever podcasts are available.
Hardy called the case “one of the more horrific cases I’ve seen in my 23 years as a prosecutor,” the Courant reports. She added, “It’s probably beyond comprehension that a mother could do this to her child.”
According to the AP, at the time of Matthew’s death, the family was being monitored by the state Department of Children and Families. Tirado, however, did not let workers see her son, and the agency by law could not compel her to cooperate.
According to the Courant, Matthew’s biological father, a 61-year-old sex offender, said in a statement to the judge that Tirado “showed real hate for our son since day 1” and said she “would call him retarded.”
Tirado’s attorney, William O’Connor, said his client is remorseful for her son’s death, the paper reports. Tirado, who did not make a statement before her sentencing, insists she never starved her son but admitted she failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner.
O’Connor said that Tirado is intellectually limited and was neglected as a child. He noted that Tirado was only 15 when she was impregnated by Gomez, who at the time had been convicted of sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.