A mother and her toddler were found dead in Hollywood Monday night, leaving a 2-year-old to fend for himself by rummaging through lower cabinets for days, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The surviving child, who had been recently adopted with his brother, is now an orphan again, investigators said.
The LAPD said the mother likely died of a pre-existing medical condition while feeding the 1-year-old boy. The toddler choked on the food and also died, police said.
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The 2-year-old was found alive, but very dehydrated.
"Very tough situation for LAPD and LAFD responding units," said Lt. John Jenal of the LAPD. "This mother had just opened her heart and home and adopted these two children."
Police initially responded to the call of a possible screaming child at an apartment in the 1600 block of N. Fuller Avenue at 4:30 p.m.
"The bottom cupboards had been ransacked by this 2-year-old trying to survive," Jenal said. "They found water running in the house."
The boy survived oppressive heat in the apartment for days while foraging for food in the lower cabinets, investigators said.
A friend said the 43-year-old single mom had suffered respiratory issues.
"They were wonderful people," Estella Avendano said.