Matthew Tirado, age 17, was starved to death by his mother, Katiria Tirado. Matthew’s 9-year-old sister was also physically abused. Both children were homeschooled.
Matthew was born in 1999 when Tirado was just 16; Matthew’s father, Pedro Gomez, was 34 years older than Tirado and did not live with the family. Matthew was autistic and intellectually disabled, and received special education services in Hartford Public Schools. Tirado began abusing him at least as early as 2005, when the first CPS investigation occurred on his behalf. Between 2010 and 2014, Matthew was withdrawn from school for months and years at a time, seeing a doctor only once in 2011. In August 2013, Matthew’s sister was enrolled in public school; in October 2014 she reported her mother had physically abused her and Matthew, and Tirado was placed on the state child abuse registry. At this time Hartford Public Schools reported Matthew’s long absence to CPS and he was enrolled in Oak Hill School, “a private, state-approved special education program that delivers services to children,” in December 2014. Though he remained enrolled until his death in 2017, he attended less than 100 days of school during this time. According to Tirado’s friends and neighbors, she claimed to be homeschooling Matthew. He last attended school in January 2016. Matthew’s sister was withdrawn from school to be homeschooled in November 2016 after Tirado was charged with educational neglect for failing to send her to school as well. Tirado’s mother, one of Matthew’s primary caregivers, died in mid-2016. Matthew’s father last saw him in August 2016.
Tirado kept the cabinets and refrigerator locked, and beat Matthew when he tried to sneak food. When he died, Matthew weighed 88 pounds and had “broken ribs, a laceration to his head, several contusions and bedsore-type injuries to his buttocks, and severe malnutrition.” A few days before his death, Tirado held a party at her house, where relatives remarked on Matthew’s thinness; Tirado claimed he had a “fast metabolism.” Texts between Tirado and a relative show she knew he needed medical attention, but chose not to seek it because of fears of CPS. The abuse came to light in February 2017 when Matthew’s condition worsened and Tirado took him to the hospital. He died a few hours later. Tirado pleaded guilty to manslaughter and faces up to 11 years in prison.
Date: February 14, 2017
Location: Hartford, Connecticut