Before Ji’Aire Lee’s tragic death in a park swing in southern Maryland, his father, James Donnel Lee, had concerns about the mental health of Ji’Aire’s mother, Romechia Simms. Concerned residents called police when they noticed a mother pushing a toddler in a park swing for an “unusually long period of time.” When police arrived to investigate, the 3-year-old boy was already dead.
Ji’Aire Lee was still alive when his mother placed him in the swing. The investigation revealed the estimated time Romechia Simms pushed her son in the swing is 44 hours. According to a press release from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore determined Ji’Aire died of hypothermia and dehydration and has ruled his death a homicide. At this time, Simms has not been charged with her son’s death.
James Lee had concerns about Simms’ mental health and sought custody of Ji’Aire in March. Simms has been suffering from depression and bipolar disorder. James stated in February that Simms said she thought someone was trying to kill their son, and shortly after that, she jumped out of a moving taxi cab with their son. Simms was hospitalized twice before Ji’Aire’s death for erratic behavior.
In a written statement in April, Romechia Simms wrote that though she had a breakdown, she was recovered.
“I am now in a much better productive space. I have done everything in my power since moving from D.C. to ensure that my son has the best life that he can have.”
Vontasha Simms, Ji’Aire’s grandmother, says she believes her daughter suffered “some type of psychotic episode” while playing with her son in the park. Romechia says she has no memory of what happened at the park at the time of her son’s death and was hospitalized for four days afterwards.
Mere days before the tragedy occurred, Ji’Aire’s father, James Lee, tried to gain sole custody of his son due to his concerns that Ji’Aire’s mother was suffering from mental illness. Lee said he wanted her to get help and believed he could provide a more stable environment for Ji’Aire. A judge denied Lee sole custody.
The autopsy report has not been handed over to the Office of the State’s Attorney but will be in the next week. The case will go before a grand jury, which will decide whether Romechia Simms will face criminal charges in Ji’Aire Lee’s death. Kristen Ayers of the state’s attorney’s office stated prosecutors cannot say whether they will file charges or not until they receive the autopsy report.
Do you think Romechia Simms will be charged in her son, Ji’Aire Lee’s, death?
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