Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- According to DeWitt Police, it’s very possible that the child found living in deplorable conditions at a home on James Street Thursday
could have been rescued long before, if only people had picked up the phone and called authorities.
Child welfare agencies estimate that close to 700,000 children were abused or neglected last year, but studies have repeatedly found that even more abuse goes unreported.
From what police described, it’s hard to imagine the life that little boy lived. Some of the boys’ neighbors say they had no idea.
“I would have at least called the cops had I thought something was seriously wrong,” said neighbor Rachel Bossi.
DeWitt Police say others knew of the little boy, who they say smelled like urine and was found covered in his own waste, yet they chose to stay silent.
Deputy Commissioner of Child Welfare Mary Schapley says that happens more than it should and she’s heard the excuses: “I need to mind my own business; it doesn’t apply to me; I don’t want to bring big brother onto their shoulders,” she said.
Perhaps they fear retaliation. If that’s the case, Schapley says it’s important to know placing a call can be done without it being traced back to you.
“What they need to realize is, if they make a report to the hotline, they can do it anonymously. If they do leave their name we can’t release it; it’s confidential,” Schapley said.
Chances are reporting your suspicious will do more good than harm.
If you suspect child abuse call Onondaga County at 422-9701. If you live anywhere else in New York State call 1-800-342-3720.