Mother and baby found dead in Hollywood alongside crying toddler

When police and firefighters entered a Hollywood apartment Monday afternoon, they found a tragic scene: a mother and baby dead and a toddler wailing.

Based on preliminary evidence, police said, the mother and 1-year-old boy had been dead about two days.

The emergency workers went to the home in the 1600 block of North Fuller Avenue after receiving a call around 3 p.m. from a worried neighbor, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Firefighters used a ladder to enter the small second-floor unit through a window, said Lt. John Jenal, a police spokesman.

The mother, Arek Tomassian, 43, appears to have died of natural causes while feeding 1-year-old Michael Norton, officials said. Jenal said the baby seems to have died by aspirating on some food.


The time alone left the 2-year-old boy severely dehydrated, Jenal said. The toddler, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital in critical condition and is stable.

About five days ago, Tomassian went to a hospital with breathing difficulty and was diagnosed with bronchitis, Jenal said.

He said a friend who lives nearby kept calling to check on her, but after receiving no response for a day or two, the friend went to the building, heard the 2-year-old screaming and called police.

The call saved the toddler’s life. He appears to have rummaged through the apartment’s lower cabinets to find food, Jenal said. “We’re just lucky he’s alive.”

No foul play is suspected in the deaths, police said.

Jenal said Tomassian had recently adopted the pair of brothers. She “was loving them and trying to take care of them … and suffered this medical emergency.”

The L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services is to take custody of the toddler.

The county coroner’s office is determining the official causes of death, and police are conducting an investigation, Los Angeles police spokeswoman Liliana Preciado said.

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