SEREMBAN - A woman, who claimed to have once babysat the severely malnourished and disabled teenager who was found living in filth at a flat unit in Nilai on Saturday, was shocked when she visited the boy at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital here.
Her voice choking with emotion, Norfitri Radius, 42, said: "I took care of him for eight years from 2004 and he was a lot healthier then.
"He could stand up and utter a few words," she said, adding that she moved to Gemencheh after getting married in 2012.
The 15-year-old boy was wearing a tattered and soiled T-shirt when he was found by Immigration officers making checks to weed out illegals at a block of flats in Taman Semarak, Nilai.
Identified later as Muhammad Firdaus Dullah, he was covered in his own faeces and urine when he was found.
There was a wheelchair in the room but the boy with deformed legs could hardly stand up to reach for it.
The police detained the boy's 40-year-old mother, believed to be working as a helper in a catering company in nearby Sepang, when she was called to have her statement recorded on Saturday night.
Norfitri said she did not believe that the mother would abuse Muhammad Firdaus.
"She has a lot of problems and suffered a miscarriage recently," said Norfitri, adding that she was prepared to look after the boy again.
She said Muhammad Firdaus had a high fever when he was 18 months old and would get fits occasionally.
It is learnt that the boy's mother lived nearby with her second husband.
In Nilai, neighbours said they were shocked to learn about the boy's existence.
"The mother always kept to herself. We see her in the morning when she leaves for work and in the evening when she comes back.
"We neither knew she had a crippled son nor did she ever ask for our help," said a neighbour who declined to be named.
Meanwhile, Nilai OCPD Supt Abdullah Roning said the police obtained an order to remand the boy's mother until Wednesday.