CRIME

Child welfare workers visited Massachusetts foster home 3 days before little girl's death

State child welfare workers visited the Massachusetts foster home of a 2-year-old girl three days before her death, but did not disclose the reason for the visit or what was found, the agency said.

The 2-year-old girl and a 22-month-old girl were discovered unresponsive at an apartment in Auburn, 45 miles west of Boston, after their foster mother called 911 Saturday afternoon, Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said.

The older girl died at the hospital while the younger girl remains in critical condition.

"The Department of Children and Families is devastated by the loss of a child, and the critical condition of another, who were cared for in a foster home," agency spokeswoman Andrea Grossman said in a statement.

Grossman said DCF is working closely with police and also conducting its own investigation.

An autopsy was performed Sunday, but a spokesman for Early said Monday the results are not expected immediately and the cause of death remains under investigation.

Air quality tests were done at the home and carbon monoxide poisoning has been ruled out.

Officials said six children lived in the apartment, three of which were the mother's biological children who were taken into state care pending the results of the investigation. The third foster child was hospitalized as a precaution.

DCF said the apartment has been licensed as a foster home since 2014 and that six other foster children had previously lived there.

No one has been charged.

Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis Jr. said the mother is "very familiar" to police. The Telegram & Gazette in Worcester reported that Sluckis said police had been to the apartment several times for incidents including domestic issues and an identity theft case in which the tenants were victims.

Officials have not released any names, but David Coxon, 69, told The Boston Globe he learned his granddaughter had died after a DCF official called him Saturday night.

Coxon said his granddaughter was placed in foster care after her mother, Jessica Conway, was sentenced to a year in prison. He said Conway is completing a residential drug rehabilitation program.

Conway, 27, told the Boston Herald she was devastated by her daughter's death and was working hard to regain custody.