Police in Connecticut say a three-year-old girl lived alone with her dead mother for several days, surviving on cereal that had spilled on the floor. 

The body of Twanna Toler, 37, was found in her East Hartford apartment Monday by a social worker who convinced the girl to let her in. Authorities said Toler had been dead for “several days,” but did not know the exact time of her death. 

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East Hartford Police Lt. Joshua Litwin said the child believed her mother was sleeping. The girl was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, where she was treated for dehydration.

Police said they found no evidence of a crime or break-in. Investigators are awaiting results of an autopsy by the medical examiner’s office.

A neighbor, Susan Tash, told the Associated Press the television in Toler’s apartment was very loud over the past week, and she heard the girl scream and cry. She said she just thought the child was being fussy. She said she had no idea anything was wrong.

“I was mortified,” Tash said after Toler’s body was found. “It hit me hard because the noise upstairs and I felt kind of responsible.”

It wasn’t immediately clear who has custody of the child. The state Department of Children and Families was called in.

Court records show Toler had a criminal record that included narcotics possession, assault, larceny and failure to appear in court. Records show she also was arrested on a misdemeanor larceny charge in October and was supposed to appear in court for the case Thursday. She had pleaded not guilty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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