Detroit MI July 22 2012 A 9-year-old boy committed suicide when he fell nine stories to his death, the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Friday.
An official with the office said information gathered from police was used to make the determination.
The boy’s grieving family held a candlelight vigil Friday night to remember the life of the child who was described as a good kid who loved macaroni and cheese, skateboarding and playing video games.
His death comes about two months after a 7-year-old boy who complained about being bullied at school was found hanging by a belt from his bunk bed. The Free Press is not naming the children involved.
“This came unexpected,” the 9-year-old child’s mother told the Free Press on Friday.
The child, who relatives say would have been a fourth-grader in the fall, plummeted Wednesday from the window of his apartment in the Young Manor complex in the 2500 block of West Grand Boulevard.
“I don’t believe my baby wanted to hurt himself,” the boy’s mother said. “He loved life.”
She said she was in the apartment taking a nap at the time and isn’t sure what happened.
“I can’t even tell you because I really don’t know,” she said before stopping the interview. The child had threatened suicide in the past, police said, declining to say when those threats occurred. No further details about the investigation were disclosed Friday.
Court records show the family was troubled.
Before the 9-year-old was born, his mother lost custody of her three young children, court documents show. Her oldest three children were raised by another family member, but the children’s biological mother maintained a relationship with them, and no hard feelings existed, said Pastor Barak Holmes Jr., a cousin of the boy’s family.
“She was in a rough place in life at the time,” he said. “The family had made a decision that it would be in the better interest of the children.”
In 1998, the mother had no income, home or medical insurance. She needed help with parenting skills, although she was affectionate toward her children, according to court records. She admitted to using crack cocaine and alcohol in the past.
Her parental rights were terminated when she failed to visit the children weekly, complete parenting classes, submit to drug and alcohol screens and provide proof that she had housing suitable for the children, the records showed.
Michigan has a birth match system in which birth information from the Department of Community Health’s database coordinates with information kept by the Department of Human Services and flags parents who have previously had parental rights terminated, said Colin Parks, manager of the Children’s Protective Services Program Office. It was implemented in March 2001.
“Whenever we have a parent who has had their rights terminated giving birth to a new child, it is an automatic complaint investigation for our department,” said Parks, noting that DHS cannot provide information on specific cases.
But that doesn’t mean the newborn will be removed from the home.
“We really always need some evidence of current risk of harm to that child to lead to a decision to substantiate abuse or neglect,” he said.
The 9-year-old’s death occurred after his 15-year-old sister discovered he stole water balloons from a store and told him he would be spanked when they got back to the apartment, a relative said.
The boy’s funeral is set for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Historic Little Rock Baptist Church, 9000 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. A fund has been set up with Peace Funeral Home to help the family pay for the service.
“He was a great, great young man,” the boy’s mother said Friday.