A 4-year-old boy was found alive but malnourished in a Union, New Jersey, apartment where police also discovered the decomposing body of a woman.Authorities revealed few details about the case, including whether the woman was the child’s mother.

Late Tuesday morning, police responded to a call from maintenance staff at the Mill Run at Union Apartments in Union Township, about seven miles southwest of Newark. There were concerns about a foul odor coming from one of the apartment units, police said.

Officers discovered the door of that apartment ajar, but secured from the inside with a chain lock. Officers forced the door open and found a 4-year-old boy, according to a statement released by the Union Township Police Department.

The boy “appeared very malnourished but alert,” police said in a statement.

In the bedroom of the apartment, officers discovered the body of a woman “in a state of decomposition,” the statement said. The child apparently had been trying to take care of the woman, police said.

“He was…putting some type of lotion on her, but she was deceased. It’s very sad,” said Zieser.

Emergency services arrived at the scene and the child was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. The local medical examiner’s office scheduled an autopsy on the body,though Zieser said the death appeared to be of natural causes.


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