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Waterford mother receives suspended sentence in death of 5-year-old son

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Waterford -- More than three years after her 5-year-old autistic son died in the backseat of a hot car, a local mother has been given a fully suspended eight-year prison sentence and three years of probation.

It was 86 degrees outside on May 23, 2018, when Christopher Kenneth Bosselman's lifeless body was found buckled into the backseat of his mother's Toyota Camry outside their house at 3 Maple Ave. in Quaker Hill. All the windows and doors were closed and the boy died from exposure to the heat, police and court records show.

Last month, his mother, Whitney Bosselman, appeared in Norwich Superior Court and had her sentence handed down by Judge Nuala Droney. Bosselman, who pleaded guilty to risk of injury to a minor and had been out on bond, walked free.

The judge imposed special conditions on her probation, including requirements to participate in parenting counseling and undergo a mental health evaluation, according to court records.

After Christopher's death, investigators found that the boy and his siblings had been living in "deplorable conditions."

Police found bags of trash, dirty diapers, moldy food and excrement stains in the Bosselman house and said the home's condition was "extremely unsanitary and unkempt" except for the parents' bedroom.

The Department of Children and Families investigated Christopher's death and in a report to police said that "the home was found to be deplorable, and the children were living in their own filth."

DCF also reported that "Whitney Bosselman showed a serious disregard for C.K.'s safety by failing to adequately supervise her 5-year-old, autistic son, resulting in his death," the arrest warrant said.

On the day of Christopher's death, Bosselman had called police to report that she'd woken up from a nap and could not find her son. She told police she "believed that C.K. got out of the house via the living room window which leads to the front porch," stating she found the window open and the screen removed.

Police also reported that they found "concerning Google searches" when searching Bosselman's phone, including a search for "do people cry when they're dying," "teen dies in minivan," and "autistic children and reincarnation."

She had also sent texts to her husband in the hours before their son's death, calling the boy "an animal," records show.

Staff at the boy's school, Great Neck Elementary School, said Christopher was non-verbal, strong, smart and fast, but that he had had a noticeable change in behavior and seemed distraught the days leading up to his death.

A behavioral analyst from the school told police that on April 30, 2018, the boy had "sunken in eyes as if he was tired, uncontrollable screaming, crying, and what was a very noticeable change in behavior."

Bosselman originally faced charges of criminally negligent homicide, but the charge was dropped.

t.hartz@theday.com

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