The deaths of a 2-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother are being investigated as homicides after an autopsy revealed the siblings were beaten to death.
According to the New York Times, the death of the siblings from New York City’s Bronx borough, Olivia and Micah Gee, both of whom died minutes apart, immediately caught the intention of investigators, who, after seeing bruises on their bodies, were skeptical that the children had died of natural causes.
The incident unfolded Monday after the kids’ mother, 31-year-old Jade Spencer, called 911 at around 1 a.m. after apparently discovering the siblings not breathing and unresponsive.
Spencer told emergency responders that both children had severe asthma. The children were taken to a local medical center, where Olivia died at 2:10 a.m. and Micah died a few minutes later.
However, by Tuesday afternoon, the medical examiner said the toddlers’ deaths were caused by “blunt impact injuries” found on the torsos of both children, ruling their deaths homicides.
The boyfriend of the children’s mother, 31-year-old Novell Jordan, was taken in for questioning but was eventually released.
The Times notes that it is still unclear if the family had previous contact with New York’s Administration for Children’s Services. In the city where the child-welfare agency has come under scrutiny because of recent lapses and oversights that have been revealed since the deaths of several other children, Mayor Bill de Blasio quickly issued a statement, promising an investigation.
“Our city is mourning the loss of two young children in a tragedy Monday in the Bronx,” he said. “As a parent, it’s very painful for me to think about the death of these two children and what the family is going through right now. The NYC Police Department and Administration for Children’s Services will continue to investigate this tragedy.”
Read more at the New York Times.