Autism

If You Don’t Notice Your Child Is Dead For Four Days, I’m Judging You‏

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jarrod-tutko-srIn what is probably the most messed up piece of news that I’ve read in days, a profoundly disabled boy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was decomposing in his feces-smeared room for days before his mother knew anything about it. Believe it or not, the entire story gets more confusing and fucked up from there, leaving me to wonder how these people were able to maintain custody of all of their children for so long.

Kimberly Tutko only realized that her eight-year-old autistic son was dead when she smelled a foul odor coming from the third floor bedroom belonging to her son, Jarrod Tutko, Jr.

According to Penn Live, Tutko’s husband, Jarrod Sr., was aware of the situation but hesitant to bring it to his wife’s attention until much later:

“Kimberly Tutko said she noticed a strange odor coming from the third floor of her Green Street home Friday night.

Her husband, Jarrod Nicholas Tutko, went upstairs and came back with body of their eight-year-old son, Jarrod Jr., wrapped in a sheet and laid him on the bathroom floor, she said.

Believing the boy had just died, Kimberly Tutko said she pulled the sheet back and quickly realized he had been dead for several days.

Kimberly Tutko said her husband told her the child died on Tuesday.

“I said to him ‘Why didn’t you say anything?'” Kimberly Tutko said. “He said he was too afraid to say anything because of other kids in the house.”

Kimberly Tutko said she then called 911.”

Jarrod Jr. had multiple diagnoses including autism, failure to thrive, and Fragile X syndrome, which is a genetic mutation that can affect several facets of development including behavioral and cognitive functions. Jarrod required round the clock care, which his father, Jarrod Sr., provided, because, “He would rip up the flooring and carpeting of his bedroom, smear his feces on the floor and walls, and refused to wear a diaper. He did not attend school because he was agitated by loud noises.”

Kimberly had her hands full with their five other children, between the ages of three and 13 years old, most of which cope with various health issues of their own: one daughter is blind, deaf, autistic, has a collapsed lung and requires a feeding tube. Because that child requires so much of Kimberly’s care, the mother said she had not seen her son since 2010.

All of the children have been removed from the home pending an investigation, and the father has been charged with endangering the welfare of children, concealing the death of a child, and abuse of a corpse.

This story is obviously horrible on multiple levels; at the core of the situation is a dead child, and that on its own is a tragedy. Beyond that, there is so much going on that it is difficult to look at the entire scenario without suspicion.

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80 Comments

  1. Véronique the Attachment Shark

    August 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    WAIT… WHAT??? The mother did not SEE her own child for 4 years?? When he was living in her house?? How does that even make any sense??

    • JenH1986

      August 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      I cannot get my mind around this. How do you live in a house and not see another occupant for FOUR fucking years? I truly need someone to explain this to me.

    • jaynedough

      August 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      I was thinking the same thing!!! Even if she were as busy caring for the other children as she claimed she couldn’t walk up to his room and look at him? Wish him a happy birthday once a year? Unbelievable!

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      August 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      It only makes sense if he was locked inside a feces-covered bedroom for the entire time… 🙁

    • Véronique the Attachment Shark

      August 4, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      which makes me wonder if this death was really accidental…

    • Francine Anoia Price

      August 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      how come I doubt it. How do we know the father didn’t kill him in a rage and let his body decompose to destroy evidence?

    • Spongeworthy

      August 4, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Yes, thank you. I read that and at first thought I must have read it wrong.

    • whiteroses

      August 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      I mean, I could understand it if they were in separate states or something, but seriously?

    • Kimby

      August 4, 2014 at 11:59 pm

  2. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    August 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    This is insane. Those poor kids.

  3. JJ

    August 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    This whole situation is just the stuff of nightmares. My god how were these people able to breed and raise so many children when they couldn’t even handle the ones who don’t have disabilities. It makes me sad to think that for a lot of these kids the damage is done and while they may find new foster homes of adoptive homes if they are removed permanently from the parents care that they will have a very hard time getting over the damage done especially for the older teenage children. Heartbreaking.

  4. Katherine Handcock

    August 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    In the absolute best case scenario, this is a heartbreaking story of a family in dire need of help. But I agree that I find it hard to believe in the best case scenario in this instance. The comment about the mom not seeing her son since 2010 is particularly telling to me: with dad responsible for Jarrod, that sounds suspiciously like “I have an idea what I might see if I go in there, so I don’t.”

    • jane

      August 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Even if this is the case of a family in dire need of help, the fact that they didn’t reach out to get it make it the parent’s fault, in my opinion. I can’t imagine what life would be like with such medically unstable children, but no doubt they had access to some kind of aid. If they didn’t take it (parenting classes, home health care, foster care for the other kids, anything) there is no excuse.

    • Katherine Handcock

      August 4, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Personally, I agree (although I know sometimes getting the aid is a lot harder than it should be/sounds like it is.) But I could imagine a scenario where the parents just don’t know there is help — just not in this particular instance, with so many other warning signs.

  5. Kelly

    August 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I just can’t even with this. There is no amount of ‘busy’ that justifies not seeing a child living in your own damn house for four years. Sometimes I TRY not to see my kid for like 2 hours but I’m not always successful. This is effed. I really rarely say things like this, but I hope those other children are removed and receive health care, help and counseling that they probably desperately need. Poor babies.

    • Michelle Pittman

      August 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      seriously! all you need to do is to try to read a book or get a bath and you can’t “not see” your kids! so freaking sad! are the parents special too i wonder?

    • whiteroses

      August 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      I think I’ve peed alone while my son was conscious twice in two years. My toddler is up in my grill 24/7. Unless your house is Aaron spelling sized, you’d have to do a lot of work not to see someone who also happens to live in your house for nearly two thousand days.

  6. Rachel Sea

    August 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Those kids deserve the best foster parents ever. Mom and dad are clearly fucked, there is no way you go four years without seeing someone who never leaves your house, not unless there is something horror-movie-level wrong with your family.

    • jane

      August 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      There is definitely something horror-movie-level wrong with this family. The question is just which horror movie.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      August 4, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      The People Under the Stairs was my first thought.

    • Rachel Sea

      August 4, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      One with rather more gore than I can tolerate. I just looked at pictures of the kid’s room, and now I feel ill. It was more like a cell, and it was indeed covered ALL OVER with feces.

  7. Youthier

    August 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Seriously. I get that she was busy with the other kids but how do you go 4 years not seeing someone living in your house?!?!

  8. Shadow

    August 4, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Years or days?

    • Spongeworthy

      August 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      The child had been dead for four days. But the mother is claiming that because of how busy she is with her other kids, she herself had not seen the child in 4 years.

    • 2Well

      August 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      I’m confused. Do they live in the same home?

    • Spongeworthy

      August 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      From what I’m able to gather from articles, yes.

    • lexi

      August 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      I think another commenter mentioned that she was staying away from the sun so as not to pass on a potential infection to the daughter she took care of (who had a feeding tube going in through her abdomen?)

    • lexi

      August 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      OH GOD – staying away from the “SON” yikes. coffee time

    • jane

      August 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Well, both.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      I saw that after I commented…I guess that makes sense, but 4 years just sounds like an incredibly long time to not even lay eyes on your own child. And the fact that they didn’t have him in ANY type of school or program…I don’t know. It’s very sad.

    • Kim

      August 4, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      A good school or some type of program would have helped immensely. Without it, the child was not able to learn anything and instead was locked in a room. This would only make behaviors worse. No wonder he was smearing feces.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 4, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      That was my thought. Even with kids with severe disabilities, going to school can help. They might not be learning physics, but they’re in a social, learning environment, where people are trained to help with certain behaviors. I have a few relatives with autistic children (varying levels of severity), and they all go to school. They might not be learning all the same things as their neurotypical peers, but they are learning, and they sure as hell aren’t locked in a room all day.

    • AugustW

      August 7, 2014 at 12:01 am

      When my dad was doing chemo and had basically no immune system after a stem cell transplant, I kept my daughter away from him to avoid giving him something. For, like, a few weeks. Not years.

  9. Sara610

    August 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    There are so many things wrong with this story, I don’t even know where to start.

  10. Bleu Cheese Bewbs

    August 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    This story is heart-breaking and shocking and awful and so many other things. I don’t want to place blame on anyone other than those responsible, but if people noticed that at least one of the children was in such poor condition, I wonder why no one called CPS? Maybe someone did and nothing was done, I do not know. I do know that situations like these are difficult for outsiders; if someone had called and nothing was wrong, the general public would condemn them as busybodies.

    • Pzonks

      August 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      I would think that given the disabilities in the family social workers would be actively involved with home checks to ensuring well being and safety. Maybe they were supposed to come but never did? We need more social workers that are paid decently and have a manageable workload.

    • Kim

      August 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Absolutely – CPS is way too busy. People tend not to call CPS because of the whole bystander thing, and just because they don’t want to judge or be wrong. However, if any mandated reporters noticed and did nothing (teachers, care providers, etc.) then they can be in trouble.

  11. JulesSF

    August 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    This is truly awful, but Fragile X is a really tough disorder that we’re just starting to understand. (I’m familiar with is as my nephew has it, and my sister is definitely unstable as a result of being a carrier, and it gets worse as she gets older). This is a really messed up situation, but let’s not jump to conclusions that these are bad people. They were just dealt a really tough hand, and probably in way over their heads.

    • jane

      August 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      A parent who accidentally forgets a kid in the car, or makes a bad call about a babysitter, or lets their autistic child eat nothing but chicken nuggets for 15 years is a parent who was dealt a tough hand and is in over their head. A parent who lives in the same house as their own child and still hasn’t seen him for _four years_ and who didn’t know that he had died for _four days_ might not always be a bad person, but they sure as hell are criminally negligent.

      And that’s not even taking into account the allegations about the treatment of their other children.

    • whiteroses

      August 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Exactly. I’m sorry, but if someone lives in your house and you manage not to see them for four solid years, something is seriously fucked up.

    • jane

      August 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      And not just _someone_ but your own g-d KID!

      The more I think about it the more it dawns on me that it means that child did not leave his room for _at least_ four years. That would be cruel to do to an animal. It’s simply inhuman.

    • keelhaulrose

      August 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Nope, totally judging.
      Dealing with autistic kids is very difficult, fragile x on top of it is no picnic, but there has to be some point between “he’s difficult” and “there’s shit smeared all over his room and I can’t let him out because I can’t control him” where a normal person realizes they’re way over their heads and gets some help. There’s no excuse for how bad this got.

    • Kim

      August 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Nope-ity nope nope. I’ve spent my life around people with developmental disabilities, as my brother has autism and my dad provided care for multiple adults. I’ve spent 8 years professionally working with children and adults with various disabilities, including Fragile X. This family has no excuse, whatsoever for what has happened (assuming all of the information in this article is true). Every disorder can be “tough” but there are services available. Yes, they can be hard to get (sick, right!) but that doesn’t mean you f-ing abuse your children. If you can’t handle it, give the child up to someone who can. The kid had autism and was Fragile X, and had issues with feces. Yep, I’ve dealt with that. It can be done, it just takes love, patience, and understanding. If what we have been told is true – which we will probably learn eventually – then yes, these parents ARE bad people. Having a child with disabilities doesn’t turn you into some martyr wonderful person everyone needs to respect. It’s hard, and the good ones absolutely do deserve respect, but some people are just shit.

    • Rodiansinger

      August 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      I went to daycare with a kid who had Fragile X. I was going through a severely paranoid phase where I was terrified to the point of paralysis about germs or bacteria. It was a living hell just leaving the house every day cause I was certain I was going to die and to top it off my parents would drop me at this daycare every morning and I would get to spend my entire day watching this kid touch everything and stick everything in his mouth and then wipe his nose on his hands and wipe his hands on his shirt then go and touch everything again for good measure. And he was always spitting and screaming in people’s faces and I can say with 100% confidence he never washed his hands after doing his business. I used to hold my breath if he came within ten feet of me and get out of the vicinity as quickly as possible.

    • ChickenKira

      August 5, 2014 at 6:51 am

      Nope, sorry, I used to work at a special education school and there were two children there with fragile x. Neither of them had to be locked up in a room that was never cleaned with no furniture other than a television, not seeing their mother for 4 years. That’s just all round fucked up.

      These two kids went to school, received speech and behavioural therapy, received physiotherapy for their muscle tone, they were shy and withdrawn but they had friends, they had positive social interactions from a variety of people, from their parents to their peers to their teachers to their therapists.

      Locking a child in a room for FOUR YEARS and leaving them to smear shit everywhere is abuse. Plain and simple.

  12. Pzonks

    August 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    The whole story is tragic on so many levels. 6 kids, the oldest deaf (13), the second oldest (12) with development disabilities, the third oldest (10) in a vegatitve state, the fourth (8) also with major disabilities, the fifth (6) has autism, and the sixth, the youngest, is the only normal abled child.

    I have so many questions:
    Why keep having kids when your first few have medical issues?
    Why did the parents chose to keep the 2, most disabled children at home when clearly caring for them put them over their heads and likely left them incredibly stressed, worn out, and likely unable to properly care for their other children? (although, it has to be a hard decision to institutionalize your child because it’s not like those are nice places)
    Why was there no social worker involved with regular home visits ensuring the care of all the children?
    I am really trying not to be super duper judgy here because I can’t even imagine what living in that house would be like for anyone. Given neither parent worked I’m sure there was little money which is stressful, then add in dealing with so many medical issues….life must have been hell for all involved. I wish our medical system was better set up to deal with these sorts of things.

    • Dixie

      August 5, 2014 at 12:36 am

      What are the odds of having that many children with disabilities…makes me wonder if something else was going on…..

    • AugustW

      August 6, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Honestly you start seeing that level of disability when there isn’t enough genetic variability in the parents.
      Random example: Henrietta Lacks married her first cousin, all their babies were deaf, most had some kind of mental deficit.
      It doesn’t usually happen with just one generation of Inbreeding,mouth it can.

  13. Michelle Pittman

    August 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    this doesn’t make it ANY better but this is what another article said: “Kimberly Tutko on Sunday said she had not seen little Jarrod since 2010, when she decided it was best for her to avoid contact with him and any potential bacteria that could spell a lethal sentence to Arianna, who was kept alive by several tubes, one of them inserted into an opening in her abdomen.”

    • jane

      August 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      That is an explanation, I guess. But honestly, where were social services? Obviously Arianna had to be hospitalized a few times – was there no follow up? No home nurses?

    • Michelle Pittman

      August 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      right? i have no idea how that would work but i’m assuming you can’t just walk into a store & buy oxygen tanks, right??? i read other articles where the rest of the house was spotless (i’m guessing their idea of spotless is much different than mine)…even if that was the case…seriously — if there’s a room with shit smeared all over the place – come ON…the entire house would smell…my dog has had an accident in the house before w/1 pile and that shit stinks…smeared ALL over the walls and no one notices??? something is so not right with this story…i wonder if the parents are special needs/mentally disabled as well — not that it would make the story any better but at least that would provide SOME type of explanation…

    • AugustW

      August 6, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      I work in a pulmonary clinic and oxygen is a prescribed drug. Patients jump through a lot of hoops to get it. Lots of visits. I can’t imagine a doctor saw these kids and didn’t file a report.

    • Allen

      August 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Even when my dad was undergoing hospice care at home, the hospital sent a nurse and a social worker over to offer support and make sure we knew what to do. Even if these parents were the best caregivers in the world, I would expect the hospital or social services to follow up in a similar way. This is a situation where even if abuse or neglect isn’t suspected at all, it’s still a good idea for social services to make sure the parents have the resources and support they need. Caring for someone with serious medical issues at home isn’t easy.

    • keelhaulrose

      August 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      I still can’t picture her not occasionally looking in when he’s sleeping or something. How do you completely cut off contact with your child, not adult child but child child, especially one with special needs for four fucking years?

    • Michelle Pittman

      August 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      oh i agree 100%…that’s why i’m wondering if the parents may not be all there mentally (well, clearly they’re not or the father wouldn’t have let his dead child be in a disgusting room for 4 days and the mom wouldn’t have IGNORED the poor kid for 4 years)…

    • courtneth the modest unicorn

      August 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      That doesn’t make it ok. That just means she knew he was spending his time smearing shit all over the place and didn’t want to risk coming into contact with it, instead of dealing with the issue properly.

    • Véronique the Attachment Shark

      August 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Having a child in a vegetative state does not mean that a mother should choose that child over another one that needs her help just as much if not more… IMHO both children should probably have been institutionalized in order to receive proper care – because proper care does NOT involve allowing a child to “live” in a room without a carpet, with feces smeared all over the walls. Without a bed, or a bedside table or anything else that could give this child hope for happiness except for a rackety old TV.

      I can’t even begin to imagine how it must be like for all of the other children in the house that mom and dad have a hard time taking care of. In this type of situation, no one wins.

  14. jane

    August 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    The more I think about this the more I realize that the sick children needed to be institutionalized. It seems like they were beyond the care of even the most capable parents. If the parents were ignorant to that fact, it was willful ignorance at best. There is no scenario where this outcome could be explained away as “good parents in over their heads.” Good parents find ways to get their kids taken care of, even when they can’t do the caring.

    • Kim

      August 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      The kids altogether would be too much for normal parents to 100% properly care for, but absolutely not too much for fair parents to not abuse. Any of these children could be taken care of individually through adoption to people who know what they are doing. Children deserve a loving family – institutionalization can’t provide that.

    • jane

      August 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      I don’t mean institutionalized as in “locked away somewhere” but “at a facility where they can access appropriate services.” Clearly they couldn’t access appropriate services at that house with that family. I know the term sometimes rubs people the wrong way; I just meant it as shorthand for cared for in some around the clock kind of way. You know, by people who have some kind of oversight.

  15. noodlestein's danger tits

    August 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    That’s enough internets for me today! http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0najymJSy1qia2dho1_500.gif

  16. Nameless Mom

    August 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Have you seen the poor kid’s room?

    • rockmonster

      August 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Feckin’ nasty.

    • Kelly

      August 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      That’s horrifying.

    • ILoveJellybeans

      August 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      OMG that is horrifying!
      How can someone let their own child live in that awful crap smeared room and never bother seeing him in 4 years!

    • Rodiansinger

      August 4, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      The kid was the one who smeared the crap on his own walls.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 4, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Which, at his age, was an obvious sign that he had serious issues and needed caretakers who would actually TAKE CARE OF HIM.

    • Rodiansinger

      August 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      I’m just saying they didn’t LET him live in a crap smeared room. HE did the smearing. Constantly.

    • whiteroses

      August 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Which means they should have gotten services for him. No excuse.

    • lea

      August 5, 2014 at 9:13 am

      The part where they don’t clean it pretty much immediately? That’s the part that means they let him live in a crap smeared room.

    • guest

      August 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

      I’m surprised with the smells that must have been coming out of that room that she even detected the dead body smell…

    • ILoveJellybeans

      August 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      But when your kid smears poo on the wall, you actually need to clean it up. There is no way all of that poo came from one day. It doesn’t matter who smeared the poo, but they let the kid live in a crap smeared bedroom because they did not clean it up and did not do anything to prevent it from happening again, like watching him more, putting him in clothes that he found harder to take off, and if hes kept in his room all day to the point where nobody noticed he was dead for days, does he even have access to a bathroom, if he is potty trained, if not, does his diaper get changed when he uses it, or does he sit around in it for hours?
      Of course he is smearing poo on his wall. If theres no bathroom in there/his diaper is not being changed regularly, where else is the poo supposed to go? And its not like there is anything else for him to do in there, he is bored and understimulated. He is not being supervised enough for his parents to stop him when he starts smearing poo, or even for them to notice he had died, so nobody is telling him not to smear poo or prevent him from doing it.

    • MC Dangerfield

      August 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      This is abuse. I wouldn’t let a dog sleep in here. The kid may have constantly smeared feces on the wall, but that’s not new feces. Or even a little feces. This kid was left to do this and absolutely neglected.

    • Francine Anoia Price

      August 4, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      I hope the home is condemned

  17. wmdkitty

    August 4, 2014 at 4:26 pm

  18. NotTakenNotAvailable

    August 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I keep coming back to this one in hopes that there will be an update to the tune of this being some kind of Onion article gone way too fucking far. Look, I get how difficult it must be to take care of even one severely developmentally delayed child, much less two–this is a big part of the reason that, now that I finally found a doctor who is taking my desire to be permanently sterilized seriously, I have alerts and reminders set on every available surface to ensure that I do not miss that particular consultation! But everything about this is just…wrong. And horrifying. But first and foremost, wrong.

  19. MC Dangerfield

    August 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    God…this story is going to haunt me. My heart hurts for that little boy…really, all those children.

  20. Maggie may

    August 5, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I’m sorry. This is just appalling. The parents deserve blame of course, but what about cps? I mean why didn’t the neighbors call on them? Or the doctors? They must have noticed. Did everyone around that family just stick their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and pretend nothing was happening?!

  21. aCongaLine

    August 5, 2014 at 10:08 am

    this is as insane as it is sad and awful, on all sorts of levels, for all the kids involved. Oy.

  22. Pingback: Jarrod Tutko Jr.'s Unclaimed Remains Will Be Cremated

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