The father of a one-year-old girl is suing a New York homeless shelter after his daughter was left alone in a room with her mother’s body for several days after the mother passed away.
Quraan Laboy filed suit claiming that New York City Department of Homeless Services negligently in failing to follow protocols involving the entrustment of a child, placement of residents, operation maintenance, management, inspection and control of the city-run shelter where Westlake was residing at the time of the incident.
The suit is asking for $5 million according to court documents.
The mother 26-year-old Shelbi Westlake and the child were discovered in the room on July 25, 2021 after someone called to complain about a foul odor coming from the room she occupied.
Security contacted medical services who entered the room and pronounced the woman dead. Authorities then noticed the child under the bed and took her to an area hospital for evaluation.
The infant was said to have been covered in feces and in dire need of food and water.
“This was a heart-breaking tragedy and we offer our condolences to the family during this difficult period,” a Department of Social Services-DHS agency spokesperson said in a statement
The shelter has since put in new measures to prevent another situation like this from happening. According to the report, they are now required to conduct same-night wellness checks for residents who have not signed a nightly roster, the spokesperson said.
The mother’s cause of death is still under investigation.