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Toddler left alone with dead mom for days, survives on cereal

The little girl thought her mother was sleeping

A 3-year-old girl was left to fend for herself and somehow managed to survive after her mother died in their Connecticut home.

East Hartford Police told the Associated Press that the body of a woman was found in an East Hartford apartment after a social worker did a welfare check on the girl, who had failed to report to daycare for several days. The social worker reportedly convinced the toddler to unlock the door.

Police told AP that it was unclear exactly how long the girl had been alone with her dead mother, but that it was “definitely more than a couple of days.” She had survived on cereal that was left on the floor. An officer reportedly told CBS New York that the toddler believed her mother, 37, was sleeping.

A neighbor told the news station that she felt terrible upon learning the news, because she had heard the little girl screaming and crying and noticed that the television in the apartment was very loud.

“I was mortified,” the neighbor said. “It hit me hard because the noise upstairs and I felt kind of responsible.”

But at the time, she had no idea anything was wrong.

The cause of the mother’s death is pending an autopsy but CBS New York reports there were no signs of forced entry or foul play.

The little girl was taken to the hospital for dehydration but suffered no other illnesses or injuries. CBS New York reports that the State Department of Children and Families is handling the case.