‘Cry for help’: City councilor calls for answers after kids found in ‘house of horrors’ after death

BOSTON — A Boston city councilor is calling for answers after children were found inside a public housing apartment where an adult died that has been described to her as a house of horrors.

The children have since been taken into state custody, state officials said.

First responders were called to the Mary Ellen McCormack Complex, operated by the Boston Housing Authority, for a person not breathing, but that’s not all they found when they entered a top floor apartment, said Boston city councilor Erin Murphy.

“A lot of drug paraphernalia and sex toys all around and then one of the firefighters said that they heard a cry for help,” said Murphy. “That there were four children in the back room, and I am hearing that the adults in the apartment were not wanting first responders to go back when they heard kids crying for help, so that is very disturbing to me.”

Murphy wants the Boston Housing Authority to answer questions about how a situation like this happened in publicly-funded housing.

Emergency crews responded to the apartment shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday morning, according to the police report. Boston Fire and EMS arrived first, followed by police. They found an adult dead. The cause of death remains under investigation.

Boston 25 obtained the fire department report, which matched up with another source’s information.

According to the fire department report that I reviewed, firefighters found six adults “who appeared to be males” in the apartment, with four kids in a back bedroom. One of the men tried to stop first responders from going into the room where they found the children, who are ages 5 to 10. The report said the adults were uncooperative and denied having children inside the apartment.

“Still trying to piece it all together,” said Murphy.

The relationship between the four children and the adults remains unclear. The fire and police departments both filed reports with the state Department of Children and Families. Police officers cited the “conditions of the home.”

The Department of Children and Families said in a statement to Boston 25, “The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of the children who live in the home.”

Neighbors said they know the apartment and that something happened over the weekend but they didn’t want to talk about it.

In a statement to Boston 25 regarding this case, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said, “We’re aware of the incident and the investigation and will appropriately prosecute any arrests that result. At this moment, no charges have been issued.”

“At the end of the day, my biggest concern is what were the children exposed to and were they hurt in any way,” said Murphy.

In a statement to Boston 25, the Boston Housing Authority said, “The Boston Housing Authority is working closely with the Boston Police Department as they continue to investigate the circumstances around the recent death at Mary-Ellen McCormack. BHA received no complaints about activity in this unit prior to the incident, but we care deeply about the safety of all our residents and are working actively with the agencies involved to take all appropriate follow-up action. BHA has a strong partnership with BPD and communicates with them often. The only call BHA received this year about this unit was for a routine maintenance issue in May, which was responded to appropriately at that time.”

Councilor Murphy expects the housing authority to appear before the City Council this summer.

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