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Maryland mom found pushing dead son on park swing

BALTIMORE - Further investigation and toxicology tests are needed in the case of a Maryland child who was found dead in a park swing as his mother pushed him, authorities said.

An autopsy has been completed on the 3-year-old boy found Friday in La Plata, Maryland, but the cause of death remains under investigation, Charles County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Diane Richardson said Monday.

The 24-year-old mother, whom a relative identified as Romechia Simms to CBS affiliate WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C.,, was taken to a hospital Friday. Richardson said the woman remained hospitalized Monday. Officials haven't identified her. They've said she may have been at the park for hours before the boy was discovered.

Family members identified the son as Ji'Aire Lee to WUSA-TV.

Detectives were working to establish a timeline of the days before his death, Richardson said. Previously, she said there were no obvious signs of foul play but that it hadn't been ruled out.

Also Monday, a woman who identified herself as the child's maternal grandmother, told WUSA-TV, her daughter had been diagnosed with a mental illness a few months ago and had been seeking help. She didn't give specifics.

The woman, who identified herself as Vontasha Simms, also told WUSA-TV her daughter ordinarily "would never harm my grandson in any type of way."

"I just believe she had some type of mental illness, some type of mental break that came upon her where she wasn't able to get herself out of that situation," said Vontasha Simms.

Police have not commented on details of the investigation or whether mental illness played a role.

The park is about a mile away from a hotel where the family is staying. Vontasha Simms told WUSA-TV they are homeless and that Romechia suffered depression trying to deal with this while still taking care of her son.

"I don't want people to look down upon her. I want people to use the situation as an opportunity to grow, learn from it. Like I said, help your neighbor, if you suffer from mental issues and you need help, don't be afraid to reach out to somebody," Vontasha Simms said.

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