ST. CROIX — The death of a 4-year-old child in Lorraine Village on Friday has stirred the angst of many a Virgin Islander, among them lawmakers who are calling for a swift investigation by the Department of Human Services into his death. It’s now widely known that the boy’s father, Aaron Benjamin, Sr., had been in a battle with D.H.S. and the judicial system attempting to gain custody of his son, but lost the battle. The father’s contention, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, was that his son was being abused while living with the mother and her boyfriend.
“DHS needs to launch a full investigation into the death of the four year olds,” Mr. Vialet wrote on his Facebook page. “Was the mom a client of DHS, was the child in school? If yes then we need to determine how we missed all the warning signs.”
Senator Novelle Francis also commented, stating, “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.”
D.H.S. Commissioner Kimberley Causey-Gomez did not immediately return a request for comment.
The boy’s mother, identified as Delicia Daniel, 29, was arrested on Saturday and charged with child neglect. Her boyfriend, identified as Kyle Christopher, 22, was also arrested Saturday. He was charged with child abuse, although police say additional charges could be leveled on both suspects upon receiving 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.
Police Commissioner 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.
Feature Image: A portion of Lorraine Village, not necessarily the location on the property where the incident occurred.