By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
The father of the Manchester boy who died this week after being rushed to hospital with severe burns and other abuse-related injuries last week was planning to run, court records show.
Murtadah Mohammad, 25, is accused of abusing his 7-year-old son, Jaevion Riley, who died at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Tuesday after being found unconscious in his Eastern Avenue flat in Manchester last week.
Jaevion had burns to 15-20 per cent of his body as well as other injuries consistent with physical abuse, according to the affidavit filed at Hillsborough North Superior Court in Manchester. The child also suffered a heart attack in the latest incident of abuse, according to the affidavit.
A tipster has contacted police to say Mohammad was packing his belongings in his car while his son lay unconscious in hospital, with burns to his body, missing teeth and marks from where he had been beaten with a cable of charge, according to the affidavit. Police gathered further information indicating he was planning to flee and issued orders to detain him if spotted.
Mohammad was found and arrested on January 19 in Manchester as detectives typed in a request for a warrant, according to the affidavit.
Police attended Mohammad’s apartment on January 17 to respond to a 911 call indicating a child was unconscious. They found the badly burned and beaten Jaevion in the apartment, and they got a changing version of events from Mohammad about what led to the boy’s condition, according to the affidavit.
Mohammad initially tried to explain the fire as a kitchen accident, but when that story fell apart, Mohammad started to say more. He eventually told police he put the boy, naked, in the shower and put boiling water on as punishment, according to the affidavit. Mohammad told police he was trying to discipline his 7-year-old son by burning him, the affidavit states.
“Mohammad admitted that he had a problem with (Jaevion) lying to him recently and tried to use discipline to correct the problem,” the affidavit reads.
Those disciplinary actions started with spanking, then beatings with the charging cable, then finally hot water in the shower, Mohammad told police.
Jaevion had a skull injury on the back of his head and authorities recently discovered a crack in the shower. Police suspect the crack and injury to the skull is linked to the alleged abuse of Jaevion by Mohammad.
During the investigation, Mohammad allegedly deleted data from his phone before police could take it, the affidavit states. Mohammad is currently charged with second degree assault, tampering with physical evidence and endangering the welfare of a child.
On Wednesday, the office of New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella announced that it was investigating Jaevion’s death as suspicious. The delay of the investigation could be several months, because the autopsy of Jaevion is still in progress. According to Formella’s office, the Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy on the child, and the results will likely take several months.
Governor Chris Sununu has already weighed in on Jaevion’s death, saying he is confident justice will be served.
“Jaevion was taken from this world far too soon. His tragic death will be thoroughly investigated and I am confident justice will be served,” Sununu said in a statement.