A Pennsylvania couple has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and concealment the death of a child in relation to the death of their 9-year-old son â€“ as well as aggravated assault and child endangerment charges in the treatment of their 10-year-old daughter.
Jarrod Tutko Sr, 39, and Kimberly Tutko, 40, of Harrisburg, essentially starved their son, Jarrod Tutko Jr, to death and had him living in a feces-covered room up until the very end. The emaciated child died at less than 17 pounds and had almost no body fat.
The frail boy’s decomposing body was found in August of 2014 in their home.
Young Jarrod had a genetic disorder that exhibited autism-like symptoms. An autopsy concluded that he died of malnutrition and neglect.
The case against the parents began on August 1, 2014 when police responded to a 911 call from the Tutkos’ home about an unresponsive child.
Detective Rodney Shoeman said he detected ‘a strong odor of decomposition’ when he got out of his car and approached the house. The couple lived there with six children, ages 3 to 14.
Kimberly told Detective Shoeman that sheâ€™d tried to alleviate the smell using mothballs and bleach, thinking it was coming from dead mice.
She claims that it wasn’t until she asked her husband on August 1st that he revealed Jarrod Jr. had died.
â€œThere’s something wrong with him. He passed away a couple days ago,â€ she quoted her husband as saying.
Authorities found the boy’s body wrapped in a sheet in a bathroom.
Mrs. Tutko also told the detective that sheâ€™d been considered the â€˜primary caregiverâ€™ for at another of their special needs children, but that Jarod Sr was solely responsible for the care of their son. She said she hadnâ€™t seen the boy â€˜for several daysâ€™ before he succumbed in the room shown in the photo above.
Jarrod Jr had died during a two-day period in which his father had had zero interaction with him.
Then there were the charges against them concerning their daughter. 10-year-old Arianna, who has a brain injury, was found in â€˜dire medical conditionâ€™.
A pediatrician revealed to a grand jury that the girl had wax from her ears on her face and that her eyes were â€˜matted from secretions and dirt, and she had thick scales all over her skinâ€™.
Jarrod Tutko Sr pleaded guilty Monday in Dauphin County Court to the murder charge, as well as child endangerment and concealing the death of a child charges.
Kimberly Tutko pleaded guilty to murder and child endangerment in relation to Jarrod Jr.
Theyâ€™re due to be sentenced on December 16th. The third-degree murder charge alone carries up to 40 years in prison.
Prosecutors revealed in a preliminary hearing that they believed at least part of the concealment was due to the couple losing out on $710 in government assistance for the month of August if it had become known that their son died before the first of the month.