Boy Was In Swing For Three Days When Found Dead, Ji’Aire Lee’s Death Ruled Homicide

A boy was in a swing for three days when he was discovered dead by police, and now his death is being ruled a homicide.

Last month, a 3-year-old Maryland boy named Ji’Aire Lee was found dead in a swing at a Southern Maryland park as his mother pushed him. According to the Washington Post, Ji’Aire was alive when he was put in the swing, but died after being pushed for three days.

Charles County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Diane Richardson confirmed that Lee’s death was considered a homicide, and a medical examiner’s office said he died from dehydration and hypothermia.

The police had been notified of suspicious activity on May 22, after they noticed the 24-year-old mother Romechia Simms pushing her son for an unusual amount of time at Wills Memorial Park near La Plata, about 35 miles (55 km) south of Washington, Reuters reports. The police arrived at approximately 7 a.m. and immediately noticed the boy was not alive. At the time, they were unsure of how he had died.

Ji’Aire and his mother had been at the park since Wednesday, and police didn’t discover them until Friday. While a time of death has not been determined, Richardson says the temperatures on Thursday were unseasonably cold. The autopsy results will be sent to the county state’s attorney’s office, who will then decide whether or not to press charges against the boy’s mother.

On Tuesday night, Vontasha Simms, the boy’s grandmother, spoke to reporters, saying that her daughter had suffered from so much mental illness that she “doesn’t realize herself that she was there for that long of a time.”

“We’re all upset by it [Ji’Aire’s death], because that’s not what we’re about. It doesn’t shine a good light,” Vontasha Simms said. “We know she was in a terrible situation, and I know she didn’t do anything purposefully to harm him. But I am not going to contradict anything [investigators] are saying. I don’t want to muddy the waters.”

Ji’Aire Lee death is a case of homicide He died of hypothermia & dehydration while being pushed on a swing by his mom

— Doug Buchanan (@dbfox5) June 30, 2015

Right now, the Simms’ have not hired an attorney, but Vontasha said they are looking into it.

“Right now, we’re waiting to see what happens,” she said. “It’s just a tough pill to swallow. I don’t know what [the prosecutors] are going to do, but our main concern is keeping [Romechia Simms] emotionally stable. She’s at a fragile point. She goes a few times a week to a mental health facility.”

Just weeks before Ji’Aire’s death, James “Donnell” Lee, his father, had petitioned the court for custody, claiming that he was “concerned for [his] child’s safety and well being.”

However, when Lee and Simms appeared before D.C. Superior Court Judge Peter A. Krauthamer on May 11, he did not reiterate his fears, and when he was asked if there was an unfit parent, he responded by saying, “there’s no one unfit.”

[Photo via Shutterstock]