A 4-year-old living on sugar for several days was found in an overheated Union, New Jersey apartment with his dead mother's body on Tuesday- a harrowing scene reported by The Associated Press.

The malnourished 4-year-old boy weighed only 26 pounds when police found him, and had been living on only a bag of sugar because he was too weak to open the fridge. His first request, police told the AP, was a grilled cheese sandwich and juice.

"The only way to describe the little boy was it was like a scene from World War II, from a concentration camp, he was that skinny. I mean, you could see all his bones," said Officer Joseph Sauer to the AP. The boy was naked, but still coherent and not crying when police arrived.

The 4-year-old showed remarkable survival instincts by living on sugar in the absence of any other food. Table sugar, also known as sucrose, is broken down by the digestive system into glucose, another kind of sugar that is a basic source of energy for all the cells in the human body. While he was lacking nutrients, sugar would at least have provided enough energy to sustain him in the short term.

Police said that his mother, identified as Kiana Workman, 38, had been dead for at least two or three days. No one had spoken to her in almost a week. The cause of death is still unclear pending autopsy results, but the police do not suspect foul play.

The 4-year-old boy is now in state custody, being treated for malnourishment and dehydration after only living on sugar.

Police Director Daniel Zieser told the AP that aside from the malnourishment, the boy is physically unharmed. "Whether there are any mental problems later on ... I'm not a child expert." He suggested that the boy may have been malnourished even before his mother's death- the average weight for a 4-year-old is about 40 pounds.

Malnutrition for prolonged periods at an early age can stunt a child's mental and physical growth, but hopefully the boy's treatment will restore his health after the ghastly ordeal he lived through.

Police told the AP that they are trying to find relatives to care for the boy, but are being flooded with calls to adopt the child or provide supplies in the meantime.

Read the full AP report at ABC News.