The aunt of a 3-year-old boy who was found dead in a cellar was charged Sunday with strangling him.
The body of Terral Hall was found Saturday in the cellar of his grandparents’ home, where he had been living with his two brothers while their mother was in a hospital.
The aunt, Phyllis R. Comfort, 24, also lived there, police said. She was charged with second-degree murder.
Police Sgt. Bill Maloney wouldn’t disclose a motive.
The boy’s grandparents, Robert and Mary Comfort, reported him missing Saturday. They told authorities he was an epileptic and said they feared he would have a seizure.
Authorities searched the house twice without turning up a trace. Joined by volunteers, they searched the city, 74 miles southwest of Syracuse, on foot and by air before returning to the house and finding the boy’s body behind a false wall.
“Oh no! Not again!” cried Terral’s mother, Beverly Hall, after she arrived at her parents’ house.
The Elmira Star-Gazette reported that another of her sons, 23-month-old Travis, died in July of an undisclosed medical condition.