ST. CROIX — The mother of a 4-year-old boy who was found dead on Friday afternoon in a Lorraine Village housing community apartment, along with her boyfriend, were arrested today in connection with the boy’s death, V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer Glen Dratte has confirmed to the Consortium.
The mother, identified as Delicia Daniel, 29, was arrested and charged with child neglect. Her boyfriend, identified as Kyle Christopher, 22, was arrested and charged with child abuse. According to Mr. Dratte, additional charges may be leveled against both suspects, however he said the V.I.P.D. was waiting on the results of an autopsy.
Mr. Dratte told the Consortium Friday that the 911 emergency call center had received notification of the incident at about 12:59 p.m. Officers and EMS personnel were immediately dispatched to the scene, and upon arrival, emergency personnel administered CPR on the boy to no avail.
Police said the boy was found badly abused and was malnourished. Additionally, the VIPD’s preliminary investigation with medical personnel into the incident found that the boy had varying stages of lacerations, which suggested he was badly beaten.
A person familiar with the matter said the boy’s father had been trying for months to gain custody of his son — through the judicial system and through the Dept. of Human Services — but was denied. The father’s contention, according to this person, was that he feared his son was being abused.
The incident has sent shockwaves through the community, and local leaders have shared their dismay at what happened.
“It is with great sadness that I offer my condolences to the family of young Aaron Benjamin. The loss of any child is heartbreaking under any circumstances,” said Senator Novelle Francis. “I’ve had the opportunity to speak to Police Commissioner [Trevor] Velinor and Carol Burke, Public Information Officer of the VI Department of Human Services regarding this tragic incident, which remains under investigation. I urge anyone having information that can assist police to contact 911. May young Aaron rest with the angels.”
Mr. Velinor said, “The circumstances of this tragedy is being investigated. I will assure the community that our officers will investigate this matter thoroughly and hold those involved accountable for their actions. We have a responsibility to protect our children from danger.”
The child, who was identified by his grandmother, was named Aaron Benjamin, Jr.
The suspects were remanded to the Golden Grove Detention Center pending their advisement hearing.