Police Charge Mother With Murder In Death Of 4-Year-Old Brooklyn Boy
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A 4-year-old boy was found dead in a makeshift bathtub in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and now his mother is accused of a crime.
As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, investigators secured a search warrant late Thursday afternoon, and they spent the rest of the day going in and out of the home. Investigators brought out the makeshift plastic tub wrapped in brown paper late Thursday night.
Zamair Coombs, 4, as found inside Wednesday night unconscious and with bruising on his body. He was later pronounced dead at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center.
The New York City Medical Examiner's office has ruled that Zamair died of multiple blunt impact injuries, and the manner of death was a homicide.
His mother, Zarah Coombs, 26, called 911 on Wednesday night. A day later, she was in police custody and stood charged with murder, manslaughter, acting in a manner injurious to a child and criminal possession of a weapon.
Sources said Coombs told officers she was feeling overwhelmed with taking care of three young children, and said she beat Zamair with a stick after he dropped an egg.
"I want to cry. I'm not going to cry on TV, but I want to cry. My heart is broken," said neighbor Cita Grady. "That's sad."
"That is sad," said neighbor Jean Durant. "My God, that is really sad."
Coombs' boyfriend, Jamari Richardson, was back at the house on Thursday to take his two children out. He allegedly came back to the couple's basement apartment Wednesday night and found Zamair submerged in a makeshift plastic tub.
Richardson is not Zamair's father – the boy's biological father is incarcerated. Richardson told police they tried to perform CPR and called 911.
Michael Thomas is the boy's uncle
"The first information we got was that he slipped and he fell but when we got the actual evidence that says he was beaten, it changed the whole dynamics of the whole family," he said.
Thomas was in disbelief.
"If I had witnessed anything, I definitely would have called the cops myself -- relative, family, or not," he said. "I'm not going to sit back and be apathetic about any young child being abused by anyone. So if I would have noticed; if I had a clue of anything that was ever going on, we wouldn't be here now."
Thomas said he spoke to the Richardson, who is in utter shock.
"What happened is the boyfriend went to the store to get something for the baby, milk, or whatever, and when he came back, he saw all the EMS, cops," he said. "He didn't' know what was going on and when he got back inside, he witnessed the young male on the floor, EMS was working on him."
Zarah Coombs is Thomas' sister.
"No matter who it is – sister, brother, mother, or father -- if this child was harmed, then this individual should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law -- family member or not," he said.
On Thursday afternoon, investigators were seen at the home at the corner of Riverdale Avenue and Amboy Street. Meanwhile, Thomas said he would remember the good times with his nephew.
"Running, playing - you know, playing with Spider-Man, watching TV -- you know, giving his mother a hug; just being around family," Thomas said.
The other two children who live in the home are now in the custody of the Administration of Children's Services, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported. Another 9-year-old lives with his grandmother.
A representative of the ACS issued a statement, saying: "We are deeply saddened by the death of Zamair, and commend the New York City Police Department on quickly making an arrest in this case. As we conduct our investigation along with the NYPD, we await the findings from the Medical Examiner's Office."
Police said they have three domestic violence reports with the family.
Sources also told CBS2 the family has a history with the ACS -- once for failure to provide medical attention to one of her children, another for inadequate supervision. Both cases from 2015 were later deemed "unfounded" by ACS.
As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, Zamair's tragic death came as a report from the Department of Investigation indicates the ACS made mistakes that cost another little boy his life. Jaden Jordan, 3, died after he was allegedly beaten by his mother's boyfriend in Brooklyn in November.
Initially, ACS received a tip about the alleged abuse -- but was given the wrong address. The DOI now says ACS did have access to a database that had Jaden's correct address -- but no one working weekends is specifically trained to perform those critical searches.
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