A child is clinging to life after going into cardiac arrest yesterday afternoon, having suffered a fractured skull in a Brooklyn home. Three-year-old Jaden Jordan is now on life support; a source told the Daily News, "It’s as if the kid had been speared by a football player."
On Monday afternoon police were called to the Gravesend home where Jaden, his mother and her boyfriend, Salvatore Lucchesse, reside. The boy was reportedly found "covered in feces" and Lucchese allegedly said that Jaden slipped when he was trying to bathe him. According to NBC New York, "[Lucchesse] claimed he gave the child CPR. But the sources said the injuries aren't consistent with being given CPR."
Doctors also found that Jaden has a lacerated spleen and liver, but it's unclear how old the injuries are. Jaden's father told the News, "He’s most likely brain dead, all the signs show it. There’s no coming back. Even if he lives, he will most likely be a vegetable."
Lucchesse was questioned and later arrested for abusing the boy. He's was charged with multiples counts of assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Apparently the Administration for Children's Services received a tip last week; sources tell the NY Post that a neighbor had called police three days earlier to say that a girl was being abused at the home, but the address provided was incorrect.
The tipster also claimed the "girl" was being "locked in a dog cage"; a pit bull and cage were reportedly found in Jaden's home. A Daily News source blamed ACS: "Another one that fell through the cracks. They had Saturday and Sunday to do something and it didn’t happen. They didn’t notify the investigators and it looks like they didn’t go next door once they figured out the right address.”
Neighbors said they only saw Jaden with his loving mother and grandmother, but also mentioned hearing fights from the apartment. One said, "They were always fighting, the man and the woman who lived there. I never saw the child. Never saw him. I didn’t realize they had a child until I heard him crying."
"The NYC Administration for Children's Services is saddened by this upsetting news," ACS said in a statement. "We are investigating the circumstances that led to this incident."
Elected officials were quick to criticize the agency. Public Advocate Letitia James said, "Time and time again, ACS fails to protect vulnerable children living in abusive and neglectful homes, and now an innocent three year old boy is hanging on for his life. I am calling for a swift, thorough, and transparent criminal investigation into Jaden Jordan’s life threatening injuries."
And City Comptroller Scott Stringer said, "When it comes to child welfare, this is as horrific as it gets. It's heartbreaking. As our office continues to look into ACS procedures, we call on the agency to be as transparent and swift as possible with its investigation into this specific case. We must know what happened and why, because this is happening too often. We can't allow a single child to slip through the cracks."
Stringer has been investigating ACS in the wake of six-year-old Zymere Perkins's death. Perkins's stepfather was arrested for fatally beating the boy, and it turned out that ACS had investigated Zymere's mother for child abuse repeatedly. The ACS workers involved in Zymere's case were put on administrative leave.
This past summer, Stringer conducted an audit that found ACS investigations to be "inconsistent, incomplete and shoddy" to the point of threatening children's lives. Mayor de Blasio, in October, promised reforms to ACS.