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Pa. mom: Didn't know 8-yr-old son was dead until smell of decomposition hit her

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A Pennsylvania woman and mother of six is facing harsh criticism and possible legal troubles after authorities found her 8-year-old son dead, his body already well into decomposition. Meanwhile, her husband has been jailed. Kimberly Tutko of Harrisburg, Pa., told police, the Associated Press reported August 2 (via Yahoo News), that she only became aware of son's death after she noticed the smell.

Tutko maintains that her husband was the primary caretaker of the couple's mentally disabled 8-year-old son, Jarrod Jr., and that she rarely ventured onto the third floor of the house where his body was found Saturday. She told Pennlive.com she did not know that her son was dead until the strong odor of decomposing flesh assailed her, although she could not identify the smell at the time. Her husband, Jarrod Tutko, went upstairs and brought down the sheet-wrapped body of Jarrod Jr. Still thinking that he had only recently died, she pulled back the sheet -- and quickly reassessed the time of the boy's passing from minutes or hours to days.

Kimberly Tutko said her husband told her the child died Tuesday.

"I said to him 'Why didn't you say anything?'" she recalled. "He said he was too afraid to say anything because of other kids in the house."

She immediately called 911.

Court documents reveal that Jarrod Nicholas Tutko Sr., 38, was subsequently charged with endangering the welfare of children, concealing the death of a child and abuse of a corpse early Saturday morning.

Kimberly Tutko has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing.

A police report states that Jarrod Tutko Sr. only informed his wife of Jarrod Jr.'s passing when "when the odor of decomposition became too strong."

The five children living in the house were taken into protective custody.

The mother of five other children told Pennlive.com that she knew people would not understand how she could not know that her sixth child, her 8-year-old son, was deceased. But, she explained, Jarrod Jr. stayed in an upstairs room on the third floor of the Harrisburg house. Mentally disabled, the boy suffered from autism and a genetic defect known as Fragile X Syndrome, which causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges. Her son, she said, would rip up the flooring and carpeting of his bedroom, smear his feces on the floor and walls, and refused to wear a diaper. He was difficult to control, therefore, he was cared for by her husband.

The Tutkos also have a daughter who is severely challenged and bedridden. Blind, autistic, suffering from a collapsed lung and in a vegetative state, Kimberly Tutko took care of her every need, including providing nourishment through a feeding tube, until this weekend. The little girl's room was on the second floor of the house.

"My daughter relies on me," Kimberly Tutko said. "I take care of her and my husband takes care of Jarrod Jr."

As she explained to WHP-TV in Harrisburg, "I'm being picked on for being a bad mom: 'Oh you didn't know that something was wrong with him?' I didn't, because every single day, it was a normal routine."

But that normal routine ended Friday.

She said Jarrod Tutko Sr. had brought the sheet-wrapped body of her son to a bathroom in the house and told her, "Jarrod passed away." But she soon discovered that her son had been dead for three days. Still, she insisted: "He didn't kill him, he found him dead."

"I was scared of him," she said about her husband, admitting that he had hit her in the past. "But I know deep down inside, he would not hurt any of those kids."

It is as yet unclear as to the 8-year-old's cause of death. An autopsy is scheduled next week.

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