A 15-month-old baby was trapped with her mother’s corpse for five days in a New York City homeless shelter and left covered in feces and dehydrated after her mom died from accidental overdose, court papers reveal.
Quraan Laboy, 31, is planning to sue the City of New York and the Department of Homeless Services for $5 million in damages after his daughter Lyric Laboy was discovered by workers at the East River Family Center under a bed near the body of her mom, the New York Post reported.
According to a Manhattan Supreme Court petition, the child was discovered by her mother Shelbi Westlake (26), who had died days before from accidental overdose.
Quraan Laboy said that her daughter Lyric has lost 7 pounds since the incident and still struggles with separation anxiety.
26-year-old Shelbi Westlake died from an accidental overdose. Lyric, her daughter, was discovered huddled under the body five days later. Officials say Lyric, Lyric’s mother, had been found unconscious by the corpse just five days earlier.
The baby was found ”covered in human feces’ and badly dehydrated, and was rushed to the hospital, court documents said.
Lyric wasn’t left at home for more than five days by the agency, and they didn’t specify how much time she was unattended.
Westlake and Westlake were located in an apartment at the East Harlem Shelter at 325 East 104th St., East Harlem. They lived there for around three to four months. Lamboy was separated from Westlake at that time, according to Seth Harris.
According to court records, no one checked in on the mother nor her daughter until a neighbor noticed a foul odor emanating from the apartment.
Westlake’s last signed in at the shelter on July 19, six days before her body was found, Laboy’s other attorney Allison Keenan told the Post.
Westlake, her daughter and their apartment were rented at East Harlem shelter 325 East 104th St. during the first three months.
Westlake registered at the unit in July and was not checked-in on until a neighbor complained about a foul smell coming from the flat. On July 25, she was found dead.
Harris stated, “It’s incredible that she’s still alive.”
Keenan explained that the five-day unobserved period in which an infant is allowed to be with her deceased mother while she grieves not only displays indifference to the most vulnerable, but it also demonstrates complete malfeasance on the part of both the City of New York City and Department of Homeless Services.
The incident is under investigation and the shelter is now required to conduct same-night wellness checks for any resident who hasn’t signed the nightly roster, Department of Homeless Services said.
Laboy stated that Young Lyric lost 7 pounds, and had a horrible diaper rash. He is still struggling with separation anxiety.
‘She wakes up every night in the middle, kicks, fights, and says “Mommy!” He said, “I look at her and sometimes I start to cry.”
Lyric is now a healthy weight and has been sleeping well, although she’s still being ‘routinely’ slapped her dad when he’s asleep to make sure that he’s awake,’ Seth Harris, Laboy’s attorney said.