Tanya McDowell says the child of her evicted friend Ana Marques is being picked up at a shelter in Bridgeport and taken to Marvin School in Norwalk. Marques, who was evicted from her Norwalk apartment for fraudulently helping McDowell enroll her child in a Norwalk school, now lives in a Bridgeport shelter with her two children, McDowell says.
McDowell, who has been charged with stealing $15,686 from Norwalk for illegally sending her child to Brookside school in Norwalk, spoke with The Daily Norwalk by phone Wednesday after her arraignment. She said Marques had just gotten off a train in South Norwalk and was with her but did not want to talk.
Marques could not be reached to confirm where she was living or what school her child was attending.
However, Bruce Morris, Norwalk’s human relations director, confirmed that “arrangements have been made for the child to continue school [at Marvin].”
Morris said in cases like Marques’, Norwalk schools provide transportation for a homeless child as required by federal law. Districts typically share the cost of transportation after a petition is filed.
In January, Marques was evicted from her Roodner Court apartment by the Norwalk Housing Authority. The agency said she violated her lease by helping McDowell get documents to enroll her 5-year-old son at Brookside.
McDowell, the godmother of Marques’ two children, said she had lost track of Marques after Marques' eviction because her friend did not have a cell phone. The two met on Wednesday afternoon in Norwalk after McDowell’s arraignment. McDowell pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree larceny.
Morris, who has been put in charge of investigating the McDowell case, said he thinks it should have been handled as a civil and not a criminal matter. “On the NPS registration application it just says that if you do not live in Norwalk and attend the schools, you are liable for the cost of services. It doesn’t say anything about criminal charges.”
Follow updates on the Tanya McDowell case on TheDailyNorwalk.com.