3-year-old boy had been on park swing for 2 days when he was found dead, officials say

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LA PLATA, Md. — The death of a three-year-old boy found dead in a swing at a Maryland park has been ruled a homicide.

The Charles County Sheriff’s office said that 3-year-old Ji’Aire Lee was alive when his mother placed him in the swing, and after almost two days he was found dead May 22nd.

A medical examiner’s officer said he died of hypothermia and dehydration due to his long time on the swing. The county’s state’s attorney’s office will decide whether to file charges against his mother Romechia Simms.

The Washington Post reports that Simms had previously experienced a mental breakdown, staying at the park nearly 44 hours pushing the boy on the swing.

Romechia had been hospitalized on more than one occasion before her son’s death for erratic behavior.  The boy’s father, James “Donnell” Lee, petitioned for custody of the child just weeks before his death.

On May 11, Lee did not reiterate his fears in court, and Simms said that she’d recovered from a previous breakdown.  Simms was given custody on weekdays and Lee on weekends.

Eleven days later, Ji’Aire was dead.