NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police were investigating late Monday after two toddlers passed away just minutes apart in a Bronx apartment.
As CBS2’s Erin Logan reported, police said both children suffered from asthma. But an autopsy determined one of them suffered serious injuries, and it was still not clear late Monday what led to their deaths.
“It’s a surreal situation,” said Charles Zsebedics, general manager of the Amalgamated House Cooperative. “Your mind can’t square this.”
Three-year-old Micah Gee and his 2-year-old sister, Olivia, were put to bed around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, sources told 1010 WINS.
Police said their mother –Jade Spencer, 31 — called 911 just after 1:15 a.m. saying Micah was not breathing.
Before placing that call, the nurse practitioner said she had just given her daughter asthma medication after her boyfriend woke up saying, “Olivia doesn’t look right.”
When EMS arrived at the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative on Van Cortlandt Park South in Van Cortlandt Village, they found the 2-year-old girl unresponsive.
Both children suffered from severe asthma. They were taken to Montefiore Medical Center, where they were later pronounced dead – Olivia just three minutes before her brother.
“They’re beautiful kids,” said neighbor Aaron Olsham. “And this is just – it had to be an accident.”
Doctors told police both children had symptoms that can be caused from severe asthma attacks. Police also noticed unexplained injuries to both of their necks.
Both the mother and her boyfriend were questioned by police, and late Monday, the children’s deaths are being investigated as suspicious until proven otherwise.
Neighbors said that just can’t be. Jade Spencer’s mother, Doris Spencer, is the education director for the housing cooperative and has been for quite some time.
It was difficult for those at the complex to watch detectives going in and out of the building investigating all day long.
“They’re beloved by this community; by my staff,” Zsebedics said. “They’re part and parcel of this community and they’re outstanding people. It’s just a tragic situation.”
Police said Spencer’s boyfriend — Novell Jordan, 31 — has four prior arrests and is a gang member. They said she has only been dating him for seven months, and neighbors said they have only seen him a handful of times.
But as for Jade Spencer, Olsham said, “There is no way these parents could be culpable in anyway.”
A police source told CBS2 that the autopsies on the children’s bodies revealed one of the two children had serious internal injuries. Such injuries can be the result of aggressive CPR, the sources said.
The cause of death remained uncertain late Monday.