Report: Autistic Hartford teen’s malnutrition death was preventable 

Matthew Tirado

HARTFORD  — An investigation has found that the death of an autistic Hartford teenager from malnutrition was preventable and there were problems with the state child welfare agency.

The state Child Advocate's Office released a report Tuesday on the February death of 17-year-old Matthew Tirado, of Hartford. When he died, the 5-foot-9-inch-tall (1.75 meters) Matthew weighed less than 90 pounds (41 kilograms).

Faith Voswinkel, Assistant Child Advocate said, "He wasn`t in school, he wasn`t seen by the DCF worker, he wasn`t seen by his attorney - his  court-appointed attorney, so there were gaps in the system and instead of keeping the case open, it was a petition for the court to close the case."

Police charged Matthew's mother with manslaughter and cruelty to persons.

The child advocate's report says the state Department of Children and Families closed a neglect case involving Matthew Tirado a month before his death, after his mother refused for months to let a DCF worker see him.

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz says her agency lacked authority to force his mother to allow access to the boy.

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