Managing Editor's Note: Please wake up, America. Join our reality AAP. Report on the stress and lack of support and respect, media. Autism is killing our children, shattering our families. We need support, help, treatment, respite, my God, we need respite. How long before we have to add a "RIP" category?
BY Oren Yaniv, Erin Durkin and Jonathan Lemire
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
An autistic 11-year-old boy who can barely speak died in a fire that he set Tuesday when his grandmother left him alone in her Brooklyn apartment, officials and witnesses said.
Tavon Turpin used matches or a lighter to ignite the blaze in a hallway closet while his grandmother, Melinda McLain, 59, had gone to a deli near the Coney Island apartment, police said.
The grandmother was hit with criminal charges for leaving home without Tavon, who recently sparked a small fire by cooking a cell phone in a microwave, police and FDNY sources said.
"The kid didn't have a chance," said neighbor Wigberto Figueroa, 34. "It's so sad."
Read more: NY Daily News.