Mother of Harlem boy bludgeoned to death was investigated for neglect

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The mother of a 10-year-old Harlem boy who was bludgeoned to death in the family’s apartment was investigated for neglecting the child when he was just a baby, police revealed on Monday. 

The woman’s boyfriend, Ryan Cato, 34 — who is charged with murder in Ayden Wolfe’s death — was also investigated by the city Administration for Children’s Services in an unrelated case in which he allegedly beat another woman in front of their children in December, NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said at an afternoon press conference. 

“Mr. Cato has three prior arrests,” Harrison said. “He was last arrested in December in Brooklyn, where he assaulted the mother of his children in their presence. An ACS case was opened for that case.” 

The chief said the boy’s mother — whose name is being withheld by The Post because she has not been charged — was investigated by the ACS in 2010 after Ayden was born. 

The outcome of the two probes was not immediately known. 

In an e-mail on Monday, a spokesperson for the ACS said that the agency was barred by law from discussing details of its cases, but that it was now involved in the investigation into the boy’s death. 

“The safety and well-being of New York City’s children is our top priority,” the spokesperson said. “We are investigating this case with the NYPD.” 

Ayden was found unconscious and unresponsive in the living room of the apartment at the St. Nicholas Houses just before 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

Ayden was rushed to Harlem Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said. 

“The victim was found with extensive bruising to his face, his extremities and all over the body,” Harrison said on Monday. “Some injuries were old, but others were recent. 

“At the hospital, investigators were informed that the victim’s demise was caused by fatal child-abuse syndrome.” 

Harrison said that Ayden’s mother had not yet been interviewed over the boy’s death. 

Cato was questioned and was charged on Sunday with murder and endangering the welfare of a child. He was awaiting arraignment on Monday. 

Meanwhile, police executed a search warrant at the West 131st Street apartment on Monday along with members of the city Medical Examiner’s Office. 

Ayden’s cousin, who would identify herself only as Jennifer A., 42, remembered the dead boy as “super smart, super intelligent.” 

She said the boy’s mother “was a good mom” and “was very protective of him.” 

“She would never hurt Ayden,” Jennifer said. “She just would not. Something had to go terribly wrong.” 

“I don’t know who this other person was that was in her home,” she added. “I don’t know him.” 

Additional reporting by Kevin Sheehan and Nolan Hicks 

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