South Carolina police say 3-year-old Aiden Martin found a loaded gun and accidentally shot himself in the head.
Screenshot: Live 5 News

The father of a 3-year-old boy who died last weekend under his care says that his son accidentally shot himself in the head with a loaded gun; the boy’s mother, however, believes differently.

Arika Williams of Walterboro, S.C., is calling for an investigation into the death of her son, Aiden Martin. According to Live 5 News, Aiden was with his father late Friday night at a friend’s trailer. Although approximately seven adults were in the home at the time, Aiden managed to find a loaded gun and shoot himself in the head, Aiden’s father told police.

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Aiden’s father says that he was in the trailer’s living room when he heard a “pop” coming from the kitchen. When he went to check the sound out, he found young Aiden bleeding from the head.

The father says that he immediately scooped his son out of the trailer and looked for someone to help take him to the hospital, where Aiden died hours later.

But the story doesn’t add up to Williams.

“We need justice, we need justice; there’s no way Aiden was in a house full of people. Don’t nobody know what happened,” she told Live 5 News.

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“Aiden was innocent; my baby was innocent,” Williams said. “He had his whole life to live, and Aiden was innocent.”

While the investigation is ongoing, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office reclassified Aiden’s death from “aggravated assault” to “accidental” on Monday after speaking with the county coroner and a medical examiner from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Aiden’s father also consented to being tested for gun residue on his hands following the shooting. None was found.

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While Williams mourns the tragic death of her son, her mother, Gloria Williams, faces an uncertain future. In February, Gloria pleaded guilty to kidnapping a Jacksonville, S.C., baby in 1998 in a case that made national headlines. She raised the baby girl, Kamiyah Mobley, as her own for years. During the trial, Gloria said that she suffered a miscarriage the same year she took the child.

Gloria is now awaiting sentencing for that kidnapping, for which she faces up to 22 years in prison. While taking the stand in Jacksonville last Friday, just hours before the death of her grandson, Gloria Williams told the court how much she’s been missing her grandchildren while she’s been in jail, according to a report from FirstCoastNews.com.

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While her mother waits for her sentence, Arika is still trying to wrap her mind around her son’s death.

“I keep waiting for him just to come home; not even come home, just to pop up: ‘Mama, what are you doing? Mama, what are you doing?’ It feels like a dream, but it’s a nightmare,” she said.