2 deaths in­ves­ti­gated af­ter tod­dler dies

Boy died dur­ing visit with fa­ther; death of mother, ex scru­ti­nized.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By matthew Barakat Prince Mcleod Rams died dur­ing a three-hour, un­su­per­vised visit with his fa­ther. Prince’s mother said she fought to pre­vent un­su­per­vised vis­its. Fam­ily PHOTO / as­so­ci­ated PRESS

MANAS­SAS, VA. — A tod­dler’s death dur­ing a visit with his fa­ther last month in Vir­ginia is prompt­ing po­lice to also more closely in­ves­ti­gate the sui­cide of the man’s mother and the shoot­ing death of a one­time girl­friend in the past decade.

Fif­teen-month-old Prince McLeod Rams died dur­ing a three-hour, un­su­per­vised visit with his fa­ther, Joaquin S. Rams of Manas­sas, po­lice said. Manas­sas po­lice spokesman Low­ell Nevill said that led po­lice to fur­ther probe the 2008 sui­cide of Joaquin Rams’ mother and the 2003 shoot­ing death of his ex-girl­friend Shawn K. Ma­son.

The boy’s mother, Hera McLeod, said the sys­tem failed to pro­tect the boy af­ter she fought ve­he­mently to pre­vent the un­su­per­vised vis­its, which were or­dered by a judge in Mary­land. Au­thor­i­ties have not yet de­ter­mined how the boy died, and Rams has not been charged with a crime. But McLeod said the un­usual con­flu­ence of deaths is not eas­ily ex­plained.

McLeod fled the re­la­tion­ship with her one­time fi­ance about two weeks af­ter Prince was born.

Joaquin Rams did not an­swer calls to his cell­phone. His at­tor­ney also did not re­turn calls seek­ing com­ment.

Hera McLeod said she has been given only a lit­tle in­for­ma­tion about her son’s in­juries. But she said the hospi­tal called child pro­tec­tive ser­vices be­cause of sus­pi­cious in­juries, in­clud­ing dried blood in his nose and a bruise on his fore­head.

Dur­ing a cus­tody hear­ing for Prince Rams in March, in­ves­ti­ga­tors tes­ti­fied Joaquin Rams is a sus­pect in the killing of Ma­son, 22, who was shot in the head in her Manas­sas condo in 2003.

In 2008, Rams’ mother, Alma Collins, was found dead. Prince Wil­liam County po­lice ruled the death a sui­cide. While Manas­sas po­lice say all the in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­main a high pri­or­ity, Prince Wil­liam County po­lice spokesman Jonathan Perok said in­ves­ti­ga­tors have so far not found any­thing to in­di­cate Collins’ death was not a sui­cide.

But her son Joseph Velez — Joaquin Rams’ half brother — said it makes no sense that his mother would have killed her­self and said he has been in­ter­viewed by po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether his mother’s death was a homi­cide.

“My mother in her life never had a his­tory of de­pres­sion,” Velez said.

He de­scribed his half brother as “a mon­ster,” de­scrib­ing how even at age 3, his younger brother at­tacked him on the head with a ham­mer he had hid­den be­hind his back as he feigned a re­quest for a kiss. Like Hera McLeod, Velez ex­pressed frus­tra­tion at po­lice who failed to make a case in the slay­ing of Shawn Ma­son.

And Alma Collins’ sis­ter, Elva Cara­ballo of Tar­pon Springs, Fla., said she tried to tell Prince Wil­liam County po­lice of her sus­pi­cions about Collins’ death, but de­tec­tives wouldn’t re­turn her phone calls.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.