3-Year-Old Who Died in Fall May Have Been Left Alone

A 3-year-old boy who plunged to his death on Friday night may have been left alone in his family’s sixth-floor apartment, an official of the city’s child welfare agency said yesterday.

The boy, identified by the police as Jeffrey Lis, fell from the window after pushing his way through the plastic, accordion-style window guard of an air-conditioner unit in the apartment, one of only a few residential units in the building at 4 West 43rd Street. The building, a large Baroque-style structure, is occupied mainly by the offices of the Unification Church and the Church of Scientology.

The police said Jeffrey fell onto a scaffold below the window where he was found and taken to the hospital. He was dead on arrival at St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital, and an investigation into his death was continuing, the police said.

An official of the agency, the Administration for Children’s Services, said the boy’s father Peter, or Piotr, Lis had left the apartment about 7 p.m. and was working at the time of the fall. His wife was out of the country doing church missionary work in Korea, according to the official, who spoke on the condition that she not be identified. The family has no record of any incidents of abuse, the official said.

The police said they had interviewed Mr. Lis and a woman who, in their words, had agreed to “look in on” the child.

Mr. Lis was a part-time maintenance man at the building’s offices and also worked part-time as a truck driver, said a Unification Church spokeswoman, Kaye Allen.

“He’s preparing to deal with the tragedy,” Ms. Allen said yesterday. “He’s resting up after spending all night at the hospital and with the police.”

Ms. Allen said that Mr. Lis had lived in the building for about five years with his family and that she thought a baby sitter had been taking care of Jeffrey when he fell.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The New York Times, USA
July 11, 2004
Alan Feuer

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday July 12, 2004.
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