2008-08-22 / Front Page

Homicide: But Who Dunnit?

Autopsy: Tot Died Of 'Battered Child Syndrome'
By Howard Schwach

A two-year-old Far Rockaway tot who was returned to his mother from foster care was beaten to death, a spokesperson for the city's Chief Medical Examiner said on Wednesday, after doctors performed an autopsy on the young boy.

Sheree Brown with two of her children, Jashya (left) who was killed and Justice, who reportedly "bodyslammed" his brother shortly before his death. Sheree Brown with two of her children, Jashya (left) who was killed and Justice, who reportedly "bodyslammed" his brother shortly before his death. Jashya Brown had internal and external injuries all over his body, said Ellen Borakove, the ME's chief spokesperson.

"He died as a result of battered child syndrome," Borakove said.

The tot's mother, 20-year-old Sheree Brown, discovered her son's lifeless body Monday evening at the family's apartment at 217 Beach 31 Street, after coming home from work, taking a shower and cooking dinner for her boyfriend and her other two children.

Questions remain, however, as to who killed the young boy.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct Detec- tive Squad and the NYPD's Special Victims Unit questioned Sheree Brown and her live-in boyfriend, Daquen Williams, 23, for several hours in the Far Rockaway precinct house on Monday evening, but the two were eventually released without being charged.

The dead boy's grandmother, second from left, and other unidentified relatives, remove a pit bull from the house on Wednesday evening. The dead boy's grandmother, second from left, and other unidentified relatives, remove a pit bull from the house on Wednesday evening. Reports that the two were picked up once again for questioning at an undisclosed location on Wednesday could not be substantiated.

Police sources told The Wave that the dead boy's mother had told detectives that Jashya had fallen off his bike and, later, that his older brother, Justice, 5, had "body-slammed" his little brother earlier that day while they were playing under the supervision of Williams.

Officials, however, say that neither of those events would have been violent enough to cause the damage to the tot's body that was revealed in the autopsy.

The boy and his two siblings were removed from their mother's care in 2006 after she was accused of abuse and excessive corporal punishment, officials said.

The Administration for Children's Services (ACS) decided in February that she deserved to get the children back, after she reportedly completed mandated anger management and parenting classes.

The children were returned in stages. Jashya, the last to be removed from foster care, was returned to the family on July 3.

A foster care worker reportedly last visited the family on August 13 and filed a report that said there were no problems in the home.

ACS officials released a statement, in which they said, "ACS is investigating all aspects of the existing interaction this agency and its service providers have had with this family. We will not stop until we determine what, if anything more we could have done to protect this child."

Law enforcement officials have been working to discover who killed Brown. At press time, however, no arrests had been made.

District Attorney Richard Brown said, "This office has been working very closely with the New York City Police Department's homicide [squad], Special Victims [Unit] and the 101 Precinct detectives from the outset. The investigation is ongoing."

"We don't know the cause of the death," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters. "There are reports that he was wrestling with his five-year-old brother."

Brown reportedly returned from her job as a subway cleaner at about 7 p.m. Williams, who is unemployed, was reportedly watching the three children. Brown is pregnant with her fourth child.

When she eventually checked on her youngest son, she reportedly found him in his crib, covered in blood and vomit, and the body was cold.

Brown was first accused of abuse in February of 2005 for allegedly hitting Justice with a belt. At that time, she failed to take an anger management course and her children were removed from the home.

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