NEWARK, N.J. – New Jersey go-go dancer Sherry Murphy took better care of her pet cat than the three young boys she allegedly starved and neglected.
A police source said yesterday said that officers found her tabby plump and well-pampered inside the same Newark home where last weekend they found the cousins who had been left in Murphy's care -- two of them cowering in a basement, barely alive, the other dead in a plastic storage bin.
Yesterday, as authorities widened the dragnet for Murphy, and the FBI prepared a warrant charging her with unlawful flight, a police source said that Raheem Williams, 7, and brother, Tyrone Hill, 4, wallowed in their own vomit and used a jar as a toilet -- while the rest of the house was immaculate.
The police source added that the third of Murphy's cousins, 7-year-old Faheem Williams, Raheem's twin -- who was found dead in a plastic bin -- may have been there for months.
"He was mummified," the source said.
Because of the level of decomposition of the body and the way the corpse was stored, cops now believe Faheem may have died at Murphy's former Newark home and been packed in a purple plastic storage container.
Cops think Murphy may have moved the body about two months ago when she got her new house, carting the corpse across town, along with furniture, dishes and clothes.
Murphy, 39, an exotic dancer who performed under the name "Ebony," has been charged with child endangerment, but has fled the area, possibly to a relative in Rocky Mount, N.C.
As the FBI joined the hunt yesterday, Newark detectives scoured Murphy's old home with cadaver-sniffing dogs.
The death has been ruled a homicide, but police said Murphy is not the only suspect.
Meanwhile, Faheem's aunts yesterday blasted social workers for letting him die at the hands of the go-go dancer.
"This case was handled very wrongly," said Denise Williams. "They closed the case without determining whether the children were in good health or not."
"We want someone from the state to be held accountable for this," added another aunt, Malika Williams. "We need some answers."
New Jersey children's-services officials acknowledged they had gotten complaints dating back 10 years about the way Murphy's cousins had been treated.
The surviving boys are being cared for in a hospital. Their mother, Melinda Williams, who allegedly entrusted them to Murphy when Melinda went to jail, is now in critical condition in a Bronx hospital after being hit by a car last weekend.