Hartford Mother Charged with Manslaughter in Death of Autistic Son

A Hartford mother has been charged with manslaughter in the death of her autistic teenage son, who was brought to Hartford Hospital emaciated in February and died hours later. 

Katiria Tirado, 33, was previously arrested and charged with one count of cruelty to persons after her 17-year-old son, Matthew Tirado, was brought to Hartford Hospital emaciated and with cuts and bruises on his body in February.

Matthew Tirado's death has been ruled a homicide by fatal child abuse syndrome with dehydration and malnutrition by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

On February 14, 2017, Katiria Tirado, called 911 at 2:53 a.m. that morning to report that her son was vomiting at an apartment on 519 Park St. and had “gall stones,” police said.

"My 17-year-old son– I don't know what it is– but he might have gall-gall stones because he's been vomiting for the past 24 hours. Now his belly is bulging. But he hasn't urinated anything. I mean, I used to have gall stones before and I know what it feels like and how it looks like," the mother said during a 911 call that police released in March.

Emergency crews responded to the home and brought Matthew to the Hartford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:15 a.m on February 15.

The investigation began when the medical examiner reported some suspicious findings following an autopsy, according to Hartford police.

Hartford police said the "severely" autistic 5-foot-9 teen weighed approximately 88 pounds and had cuts and bruises on his arms, face and chest, and broken bones.

According to the arrest warrant, Katiria Tirado searched the Internet for cures instead of taking her son to the doctor. It said her internet history revealed searches for things like "autism underweight" and "autism and weight loss," as early as December 2016, which investigators said suggests that she was aware of health problems in her son months before he was taken to the hospital.

The arrest warrant also details text messages from Tirado to her sister, which included a photo of the cabinets and refrigerator screwed closed. In the messages, Tirado told her sister that her son had been trying to drink cooking oil and ketchup.

Based on this information, investigators allege that Tirado intentionally prevented Matthew access to food and neglected to get him medical attention even though she was aware of a change in his weight and eating habits, which were signs of starvation.

Katiria Tirado was charged with first-degree manslaughter on Friday. An additional $750,000 bond was set with the new warrant. She is set to appear in Hartford Superior Court on June 13. 

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