Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dead boy Matthew Degner lived in squalid home with more than 100 animals

The death of a 14-year-old suburban boy discovered living in squalid conditions Thursday afternoon has prompted state officials to warn about the dangers of “social isolation” and a lack of community response. The teen’s mother is being investigated by the Illinois Dept. of Children and Family Services and three of his siblings were removed from the home, authorities said.

Matthew Degner of 2834 Lombard Ave. in Berwyn was pronounced dead at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn at 4:39 p.m. Thursday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

An autopsy Friday determined Degner died of bronchopneumonia and his death was ruled natural, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Authorities on Thursday found dozens of animals, including 40 cats, 24 birds and at least one squirrel inside the home, which also had a bug infestation. Feces were found in the home and it had no running water, according to a source.

“Our animal control unit was called out to assist Thursday and Friday,’’ said Steve Patterson, spokesman for Cook County Sheriff’s office. more