Just Another Guy with Opinions

Boy Lives with Dead Mom for 10 Days

Posted by shadmia on January 22, 2009

8-Year-Old Trinity Tipado could not figure out what was wrong with his Mom. Everyday for 10 days he tried to wake her up but she would not respond. Trinity’s mother, Gaynell Tipado, 41, was dead.

Gaynell Tipado apparently died Jan. 9 in their apartment in the Detroit suburb of Romulus. Tipado, a Louisiana native, was a survivor of the hurricane Katrina in 2005 and had moved with her son to Romulus about three and a half years ago. An autopsy into her death is pending but the police do not suspect any foul play was involved.

According to authorities, 8-year-old Trinity Tipado survived in the apartment with his dead mother by eating dried rice, butter and flour. When supplies ran out he would make trips to Romulus Liquor Store, about a block away, where he and his mother had been shopping regularly for about a year and a half. He would buy milk, chips, candy and bread and pay for them with cash.

Layth Saco, who co-owns the store with his brother Sam, said the boy made four trips in a week to buy supplies. He said he was curious why the boy came in by himself and asked about his mother. On his fourth trip to the store, Trinity did not have any cash and presented his mother’s driver’s license and an expired credit card to pay for $34.80 worth of grocery items — including nacho cheese dip, a package each of processed ham and turkey, hamburger buns, milk, doughnuts, soda and candy. This peaked Layth’s curiosity even more.

He asked the boy if he could speak to his mother. “Is she alive?” Saco asked the boy.

“She’s in a better place,” the boy replied. He also said, “I tried to wake her up every day. I wanted to talk to her.”

“I sat him down, gave him chocolate milk. Then I called Romulus PD,” Saco said.

Police arrived and took the boy home. They called Saco about 10 minutes later to tell him the boy’s mother was dead. They questioned the boy and found out he was home-schooled, had no siblings and his father had died several years ago.

Police said that with his father dead, along with his grandparents and now his mother, he worried that he would have to go out and live by himself.

“In his little 8-year-old mind, that’s what he came up with — that’s what he was afraid of,” said Romulus Police Lt. John Leacher. “Your heart just breaks for this little boy.”

“It’s sad. It’s very hard. It’s very unfortunate for him,” said Layth Saco, 36, a father of three young children. “I just feel bad. What he had to see for 11 days.

“The things he went through,” said Sam Saco. “I’m shaken. I’m almost about to cry. I’ve been thinking all night about the kid.” Sam said he felt guilty he had not called the police earlier.

Trinity was placed in foster care, but fortunately the police were able to find his aunt and uncle. Tipado’s sister, Verna Lemieux and her sister’s husband came up from Louisiana after police notified them of her death. When reached by The Detroit News, Lemieux’s husband said they were still making arrangements for Gaynell Tipado’s burial as well as measures for caring for Trinity. The family has requested privacy, for now, despite an outpouring of support from people wishing to make contributions.

Calls continue to flood the Romulus Police station from people concerned about Trinity. The boy is currently in foster care.

“I’ve had calls from all over the country from people who want to adopt him on the spot, sight unseen,” Leacher said. “I told them there was a lot of officer support but right now they just want to get some time to grieve their losses.”

Saco said he already turned away hundreds of dollars from customers because he hoped to set up a fund for Trinity at a local bank. He said he called at least half a dozen, but none was willing to help.

“Nobody wants to do it, because we’re not a family member,” Saco said. “A lot of people are giving me (money). I keep turning these people back. I would have had $200 for the poor kid by now.”

Saco, having no success at finding a sponsor, finally relented and put a donation box in his store.

“I’m going to do whatever I can,” he said. “I don’t want to bother them (Trinity’s family). They are probably miserable.”

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