DCF: Autistic Boy Dropped Off At Broward Hospital In Foster Home
FORT LAUDERDALE(CBS4) – The autistic boy who was dropped off at Broward General Medical Center Friday afternoon is in a foster home, according to the Department of Children and Families.
A shelter hearing was held Saturday morning with the child’s parents, Amanda and Erick Mathe, at the Broward County Courthouse to determine where the boy should remain for the short-term before a long-term plan is figured out. Both parents of the boy showed up at the hearing, but did not speak with CBS4.
Police said the boy, believed to be about eight to 10 years of age, was left at the hospital by a male in his 30’s who then left in a light-colored van. Police have not released any information as to who that male was.
During the hearing, the Erick Mathe asked for custody of the child. The couple has two other, younger, children and are going through a separation, CBS4’s Kara Kostanich reported.
DCF confirmed that he is autistic, doesn’t speak and is severely aggressive.
“The child has a lot of behavioral issues,” a DCF investigator said in the hearing.
Amanda Mathe said she suffers from bipolar disorder and needed more help from her husband, Erick Mathe, with her son.
“I told his father that if I could not handle this I’ll have to put him in DCF,” she told the judge.
Amanda Mathe said that she was just evicted from her apartment and had no where to turn. She added that she had contacted several local organizations for support or help but had no luck, Kostanich reported.
“I tired everything I could,” she told the judge.
At the end, the judge granted the parents unsupervised visits for the next couple of days while officials determine if it is safe to return home.
Fort Lauderdale Police Detective DeAnna Garcia said due to media coverage, tips poured in and they were able to question the boy’s parents, who were located Friday.
The boy, later identified as “Ben,” is about 4 feet tall and weighs about 68 pounds.
When dropped off, the child appeared to be in good condition.
He remains in DCF custody and is being cared for at a foster home with a parent who understands how to care for special needs children, DCF said.
DCF said they were aware of the challenges the parents were having with the boy before he was left at the hospital.
It’s unlikely the mother will face any charges in the case, Kostanich reported.