A Maryland father is grieving after his 3-year-old son was found dead while in the custody of his mother. Police say the mother was found pushing the dead child in a playground swing for hours.
James Lee is a brokenhearted father. His son, 3-year-old Ji'Aire, was found dead in a swing at Wills Memorial park in La Plata on Friday morning. Police say his mother had been pushing him in the swing for some time, perhaps evenovernight, when they arrived on scene.
It is hard for Lee to hold back tears as he remembers that fateful call.
"That's my little man -- he loved having fun just like me," he said. "He'll always be -- that's my little man."
Lee came to court about a month ago to ask a judge for custody of his son, believing that was the best thing for the child. He said he is angry and frustrated because he feels the judge was not listening to him. That day in court was the last time he saw his son.
"I'm not saying she is an unfit parent, but at this particular time, she wasn't fit to take care of our son," Lee told us. "When I presented my case, I felt like he should have looked more in depth of what was being said rather than trying to ice it over so we could co-parent."
Lee recalled he was supposed to pick up his son on Saturday morning, but was trying to rearrange his plans to pick him up earlier because of scheduling issues. But he was unable to contact the boy's mother.
"I called her all Wednesday night and Thursday morning," he said. "She didn't answer the phone. She stopped answering my calls. Friday morning on the way to work, her mother calls me up and says my son is gone."
Police say the autopsy performed has not revealed the cause of death. They are still searching for answers as they put together a timeline of events leading up to the toddler's death.
Ji'Aire's mother remains in the hospital undergoing mental evaluation.
As Lee prepares to lay his son to rest, he is depending on his family and his faith.
"That's what is getting me through -- family -- that's all you need, and faith in God," he said. "That's all I need. It's going to be tough, but we're going to get through it."
The family has set up a GoFundMe account for funeral expenses for Ji'Aire. If you'd like to help out, go to www.gofundme.com/vcwg24c