Massachusetts officials are investigating the death of a 14-year-old with autism who was living along with one of his brothers in what they say were horrid conditions at a Fall River apartment that showed signs of rampant drug use.
The boys' father, 33-year-old John Almond, is facing neglect charges in connection with the surviving brother who was at the home, the Bristol County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday. The brother and a young child found at the home are in protective care while Almond and his girlfriend are in custody.
The home was filthy and crowded, and the brothers, both of whom have autism, were "significantly and alarmingly emaciated, 80 pounds or so," Assistant District Attorney Seth Aitken said.
There is preliminary evidence that both teenagers had been given the powerful opioid fentanyl as well, Aitken said.
Fall River police were called about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday for help with an unresponsive male -- later identified as the 14-year-old who died -- at a residence on Green Street near Pine Street, prosecutors said.
When first responders arrived, Almond's girlfriend, 26-year-old Jaclyn Coleman, was performing CPR on the teenager, according to prosecutors. He was rushed to Charlton Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The second-floor apartment was strewn with what police believe were baggies containing heroin. It appeared there was also fentanyl in the home, prosecutors said.
The surviving brother is being treated for severe malnutrition at an area hospital. A 2-year-old boy who was also living in the Fall River home is now in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.
Neighbor Alfred Cuttle told NBC10 Boston there was "definitely" drug use and other drug-related activity at the home, from what he'd seen.
Almond and Coleman were arrested Wednesday night, prosecutors said. They were arraigned Thursday in Fall River District Court on charges of caretaker neglect of a disabled person and possession of a Class A drug.
Coleman was also charged with assault and battery on a police officer and the obstruction of justice portion of the state's witness intimidation statute. Authorities allege she attempted to destroy a cell phone in the presence of police officers and then assaulted one of the officer's who tried to stop her from destroying the device.
The caretaker neglect charges relate to the surviving brother, the district attorney said. An autopsy will be conducted late Thursday or Friday on the teenager who died, and once autopsy findings are known, new charges may be brought against the adults in connection with the death.
Almond and Coleman are being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.
The brothers have a triplet who lives at an institution and was not inside the home, according to prosecutors.