A 6-year-old boy stayed in an apartment with the body of his father for two days after the man died on their sofa, obeying instructions to never leave without permission, firefighters said.

The boy, whose name was not released, didn't want to leave even after firefighters arrived, fearing punishment if he left, fire department Maj. Noble Lee said.

"He wasn't as distraught as one might think," Lee said. "I don't think he understands the gravity of the past few days. He wasn't as upset at the situation as he was about being outside the residence without permission."

His father, Kevin Dale Judd, 52, appears to have died of natural causes, authorities said. The body was found late Monday after neighbors and a maintenance man reported a foul odor, Lee said.

According to a police report, the boy told police his father had been feeling ill and laid down. The boy left the room to watch television, and when he returned his father was slumped over.

The boy did not know to call 911 in case of an emergency, said Department of Human Services spokesman George Earl Johnson Jr. He apparently had not eaten in two days but refused food and water offered by firefighters and paramedics, Lee said.

Johnson said the boy will remain in DHS custody until relatives are found to care for him.