A 15-month-old baby was tragically left covered in faeces next to her mum’s lifeless body for five whole days, court papers show.
Shelbi Westlake, 26, overdosed at a homeless shelter in New York as her young child, Lyric Laboy, lay trapped next to her.
Now, the girl’s father Quraan Laboy is trying to sue the City of New York and the Department of Homeless Services for a whopping $5 million (£3.69 million) in damages.
The 31-year-old was separated from Shelbi for about three or four months as she stayed the shelter in East Harlem, his attorney Seth Harris told the New York Post.
According to court documents, it wasn’t until a neighbour noticed a “foul odour” that authorities checked in on the pair.
Luckily, after Lyric was raced to hospital she survived the grim ordeal and escaped suffering with just dehydration.
But the youngster lost seven pounds, suffered a severe diaper rash and has been left with separation anxiety.
“She always wakes up in the middle of the night, she’s kicking, she’s fighting, saying, ‘Mommy.’ I look at her and I just start tearing up sometimes,” Quraan said.
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Attorney Harris said it is “amazing” that Lyric lived and added the 15-month-old had been “routinely slapping her dad while he’s sleeping to make sure he’s alive”.
Another member of Quraan’s legal team, Allison Keenan, slammed the homeless authorities in the city.
She said: “Allowing an infant to remain with her dead mother for five days unnoticed not only highlights the indifference and lack of humanity shown to those most in need.
“(It also) exhibits complete malfeasance by the City of New York and Department of Homeless Services.”
The agency denied leaving the pair alone for five days – but they’re now required to carry out same-night wellness checks for residents who haven’t signed into the nightly register, the Department of Homeless services said.