The young boy, who reportedly has Down syndrome, suffered only a broken femur in the fall

By Rachel DeSantis
May 05, 2021 03:41 PM
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A New York City toddler escaped with just a broken bone after he fell from his apartment's fifth-floor window, police said.

The 3-year-old boy was at home in the Bronx in a bedroom with his mother when she briefly stepped away around 1 p.m. on Monday, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department told PEOPLE in a statement.

The mother learned her son had fallen from the bedroom's window when a neighbor knocked on her door to alert her, the statement read. He was taken "conscious and alert" to a local hospital, where he was treated for a broken femur bone.

Family members identified the boy as Jose Garcia, and said he hit a store awning before falling to the ground, which likely saved him by softening his fall, according to WNBC.

"My heart is broken because we are always aware of where he is," aunt Rosmary Santelises told WABC. "And in one minute, it happened so fast. He's the angel of the house."

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His family told WNBC that Jose, who has Down syndrome, was home with his mother, sister and aunt when he apparently removed cardboard flaps surrounding the air conditioning unit in the window and fell.

"It's kind of hard to look at something like that happening," Hector Nazario, who owns a tax prep office near the scene, told WNBC. "It's a miracle the child is still alive, and it could have been worse."

Surveillance video obtained by the outlet shows Jose crying on the sidewalk after his fall, as passerby stop and come to his aid.

At one point, his aunt is seen on the video looking distraught with her hands covering her face.

"He was just looking at us in surprise," she told WNBC. "He wasn't crying, [he] just seemed scared, as if wondering what was happening."

Jose's sister Mia said she was overcome with emotion when she went downstairs to check on her brother.

"I saw him. He moved, I'm like, 'Thank god,'" she told WABC. "I take him, I was crying, my friend was like, 'Don't cry, he's alive.' He was so lucky."

The building's superintendent told WNBC that a window guard had been taken out to put in the air conditioner, but has since been replaced.

The NYPD spokesperson said the incident is being treated as an accident, and "there is no criminality suspected at this time."