NEW YORK – A mother sleeping with her 8-week-old son to protect him from the rats that infested their Bronx apartment inadvertently rolled on top of him, suffocating the infant.
"I should have put him in the crib, I should have. I was so scared, scared of the rats," Robles said of the rodents that regularly come through the walls of her $766-a-month Tremont section apartment where she lives with her husband and three other children.
Robles called 911 at 10:24 a.m. Monday but her baby, Christian Nunez, was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Barnabas Hospital.
The landlord, Christopher Hanover, who owns an apartment at the Trump Tower in White Plains, told the News that he wasn't aware of the rat problem at his Bronx building.
"That's news to me," he said. "It wasn't brought to my attention. I heard there was something in the building about a baby today, but I didn't know what."
But the News said the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has cited the 27-unit, five-story building for 378 open violations, including 20 for mice and rodent infestation.
Robles' neighbors came to her defense, saying leaving a baby alone in a crib was too risky.
"I can't blame her," said Analys Cedeno. "She didn't want the boy to get bit."
Another neighbor, Migdalia Contreras said she sleeps with her 1-year-old son to protect him from rats.
"They would crawl into the crib," she told the News. "At night, I'm up fighting with the rats, grabbing them. In the morning they're right up next to me. I turn over and say, 'Good morning."'