9-year-old boy

Name Unknown.
Died: April 21, 2021.
Age at death: 9.
Cause of death: Negligence (Left unsupervised near unsecured swimming pool).
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA.

Details:
This 9-year-old boy lived with his father in a house with an old, dirty swimming pool out back. Despite the fact that the boy had a severe intellectual disability, the father did not bother to put a fence around the pool. Child protective services had once found him wandering alone outside.

On the day he died, the boy’s father reported that he had left the back door open, and the boy had fallen into the pool. Instead of calling emergency services, he called the child’s mother, and then only called emergency services when he demanded he did so. At first reluctant to retrieve the child from the pool because he did not like water, he was finally persuaded to fish him out with a rake and do CPR. The boy was found to be brain-dead at the hospital.

His father was arrested and charged with battery and aggravated manslaughter.

References:
Father jailed on aggravated manslaughter of a child charge after son’s death in Port St. Lucie
Man arrested in connection with son’s drowning death in Port St. Lucie
Dad arrested for manslaughter after 9-year-old autistic son found at bottom of pool
Port St. Lucie man charged with manslaughter in autistic son’s drowning

Ayushi Majethia

Photo of a young Indian woman, her dark hair cut short, a small scar across her eyebrow and one eye turned slightly outward, looking at the camera with a thoughtful expression.Name: Ayushi Majethia.
Died: March 27, 2021.
Age at death: 27.
Cause of death: Accidental/Negligence (Dehydration/pneumonia after going missing).
Location: Chembur, Maharashtra, India.

Details:
Ayushi, who had intellectual disability as well as autism, went to a nearby temple with her mother. They became separated, and Ayushi got lost. The family went to police, asking for help. They showed the police her mental health certificate. Her brother explained that Ayushi was a vulnerable disabled person and they needed to start searching for her right away, because she could easily be hurt on her own.

But the police did not file a First Information Report until Ayushi had been missing for 17 days. Some people saw her on the trains, and one of Ayushi’s friends who saw her also called the police; but nothing was done.

It wasn’t until May 3 that Ayushi’s family were informed that she was dead. Her body had been found two days after she went missing; she had died of dehydration and pneumonia, and her body had been cremated a day later because all the mortuaries were full of COVID victims. Her family had to identify her from pictures.

Had the police acted when they asked for help, Ayushi’s family believes she would be alive today.

References:
Mumbai: Family claims police delay led to missing autistic woman’s death

William Alcantara

Photo of a heavyset young man with dark hair and pale skin, smiling for the camera.Name: William Alcantara.
Died: December 10, 2020.
Age at death: 24.
Cause of death: Deep vein thrombosis.
Location: Chula Vista, California, USA.

Details:
William lived with his parents as a young adult. When he had to be taken to the emergency room, the state took him away from his parents and put him in a group home. His father believes this was because he had a habit of making waves–complaining about William not being scheduled for a dental appointment he needed, and later on in the group home, complaining that William was over-medicated so that he became tired but could not sleep.

At the group home, William began to lose weight. Originally a chubby young man, he became thin and his father worried he was going to starve to death. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, William and his parents were unable to visit, and even phone and video chat was becoming less available. William’s father told the county guardians about his son’s situation–how he was getting skinnier and more unhappy and unhealthy–but nothing was done.

William died from deep venous thrombosis, and on autopsy it was noted that his body was badly bruised. His death certificate calls his death “natural”, but his family believes he died from being forced to stay in one place all day, not allowed even to walk around. “The caregiver kept assaulting my son,” William’s father says, “punishing him to keep… calm.”

Deep vein thrombosis happens when a blood clot blocks a major blood vessel. The risk factors for DVT are old age, recent surgery, pregnancy, obesity, trauma, and inactivity. Of these risk factors, William had only two: Trauma (the bruising to his body) and inactivity (being forced to stay quiet in the same place all day, or perhaps restrained). DVT is a known risk factor of restraint or forced inactivity. Although DVT can happen without risk factors, the bruising to William’s body and the fact that this death was that of a young, otherwise healthy man makes it clear to me that there should be further investigation.

References: Father of son who died files negligence claim against San Diego County

Karreon Walter-Franks

School photo of a boy with dark skin and very short hair, wearing a black T-shirt.Name: Karreon Walter-Franks.
Died: November 27, 2020.
Age at death: 15.
Cause of death: Neglect (Starvation, pneumonia).
Location: Vancouver, Washington, USA.

Details:
Karreon lived with two siblings and his aunt and uncle. His aunt had legally adopted the children.

At the time of his death, Karreon was known to the child welfare system. His aunt reported to social workers that Karreon and his siblings had been starved for years and had to steal food to survive, and that Karreon was emaciated and had collapsed from hunger. His brother told them that Karreon’s mother had hit him with a cane for throwing up. The last contact by child welfare to the home was only a week before Karreon died. His death was reported as pneumonia; but the funeral home contacted police because his body weighed only 65 pounds and was in very poor condition.

After his death, Karreon’s two younger siblings were removed from the home. His adoptive mother and uncle are under investigation, but currently not charged with anything.

References:
Disabled 15-year-old boy dies weighing 65 pounds DAYS after CPS visits adoptive parents’ home: Reports
Washington teen’s death ruled homicide due to starvation and neglect
Police: Authorities visited starving teen days before death
Child welfare visited disabled 15-year-old boy DAYS before he died weighing only 65 pounds, court docs reveal

David Almond

David Almond, a teenage boy, sits in a car and smiles for the camera. He is wearing a scarf and winter coat. His hair is dark and short, and his skin is pale tan.Name: David Almond.
Died: October 21, 2020.
Age at death: 14.
Cause of death: Neglect (Starvation; drugged with Fentanyl).
Location: Fall River, Massachusetts, USA.

Details:
At school, David had been a happy boy with a good sense of humor. His schoolmates described him as the “mayor” of the school. He was good at reading and took pride in this ability. He participated in school plays. He and his brothers had invented their own language to communicate between them. David liked cartoons, toys, and video games.

David was one of a set of triplets. All three boys were autistic, and they lived with their father and his girlfriend and their three-year-old brother. The triplets had been staying at an institution, but at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, two of the boys were sent home, while the third was able to tell the judge that he did not want to return.

The boys’ guardians abused drugs and neglected them until David was found unresponsive, weighing only 80 pounds at 5 feet 10 inches tall and with fentanyl (an opiate drug) in his system. Paramedics could not save David’s life, and he was declared dead. His brother Michael, also suffering from malnutrition, was taken to the hospital. The third triplet returned to the institution, and their three-year-old brother was taken by family services. David’s father and his girlfriend were arrested and charged with killing David and neglecting his brother.

References:
Visible injuries, scrubbing floors with a toothbrush: Shocking details from the Almond report
Rep. Fiola calls for answers in death of autistic Fall River boy
Judge orders couple held for 120 days in death of autistic boy
Death of 14-year-old Fall River boy under investigation; couple faces neglect charges
Mass. Horror Home: Teen Dead, Brother ‘Alarmingly Emaciated,’ Prosecutors Say
Two charged with child abuse and neglect after death of autistic teen in Fall River
Father, girlfriend charged in death of special needs Fall River teen allegedly found with fentanyl in system
Death of 14-year-old boy under investigation; Evidence of drugs, neglect of teen’s brother, police say