Updated: Grand Jury Indicts Md. Mother in Death of Child Found i - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Grand Jury Indicts Md. Mother in Death of Child Found in Swing

Posted: Updated:
Romechia Simms is pictured here with her son Ji-Aire, who was dead when she was found pushing him on a swing. (Photo: Mechia Simms via Facebook) Romechia Simms is pictured here with her son Ji-Aire, who was dead when she was found pushing him on a swing. (Photo: Mechia Simms via Facebook)

LaPLATA, Md. (AP)- A Maryland woman who was found pushing her dead son in a playground swing earlier this year has been indicted and charged with manslaughter and child abuse, authorities announced Monday.
    
At an arraignment Monday in Charles County Circuit Court, prosecutors said Romechia Simms, 24, of LaPlata, spent two entire days in a LaPlata playground pushing her 3-year-old son, Ji'Aire Donnell Lee.
    
Authorities say Lee died of dehydration and low body temperature while he was in the swing. Medical examiners ruled the death a homicide.
    
At Monday's arraignment, Simms objected when prosecutors declared her a danger and a flight risk, according to Kristen Ayers, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney.
    
"I'm not a risk to anybody," Simms said, before her public defender advised her to be quiet. "I didn't even mean for this to happen."
    
Prosecutors said Simms' mental state is in question and they wanted her held while she receives another evaluation.
    
Sheriff's deputies found the toddler dead in the swing the morning of May 22 after receiving a call that a woman had been pushing a child in the swing at odd hours. State's Attorney Anthony Covington said Monday that police found Lee's jacket in the trash, and his shoes off his feet, filled with rain water.
    
A judge ordered Simms held, with bond set at $150,000, and scheduled a January trial date. She faces up to 45 years in prison - 30 years on first-degree child abuse, 10 years on the manslaughter charge and 5 years on a charge of child neglect.
    
Family members have said Simms was suffering from mental illness. She was hospitalized after the death of her son.
    
Earlier this year, the boy's father petitioned a District of Columbia court for custody of his son, saying Simms was behaving erratically and jumped out of a moving taxicab with Ji'Aire.
    
In court papers, Simms acknowledged she had had a mental breakdown but insisted she was doing better.
    
"This breakdown that I had was the first that I have ever had in my life and I truly believe it was from an extreme amount of stress weighing heavy on me. I am now in a much better productive space," she wrote in a letter to the judge.
    
In May, just days before Ji'Aire's death, a judge ordered the two to share custody, and court records indicate both Simms and the boy's father agreed to the arrangement.
    
Wills Memorial Park, where Ji'Aire died, is visible from the road but bordered on one side by woods in the town of La Plata, about 30 miles southeast of Washington.
    
Court records in Charles County show a history of domestic disputes between Simms and her mother, Vontasha Simms. In those court papers, at one point it appears that Vontasha Simms also considered seeking custody of Ji'Aire Lee, but scratched out the paperwork that would have formalized the request.
    
In court papers, Vontasha wrote that her daughter "attacked me before jumping on me and hitting me while I was sitting on my bed. ... She was very angry and out of control."
    
In one of the cases, Romechia Simms wrote a letter to the court explaining the stress she was under.
    
"Between being a mom, work and school I have a load on my hands," she wrote.
    
She told court officers she was working as a barista in Starbucks and attending classes at Bowie State University.
    
The family had been living at the Deluxe Inn motel in La Plata, not far from the park, for several weeks before Ji'Aire died. Residents and a housekeeper described constant fighting between the grandmother and mother, and said the boy seemed to be mistreated at times.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Man Killed in Dover Double Shooting

    Man Killed in Dover Double Shooting

    Wednesday, June 28 2017 9:16 AM EDT2017-06-28 13:16:17 GMT
    Wednesday, June 28 2017 9:51 AM EDT2017-06-28 13:51:06 GMT

    Dover police are investigating a shooting that killed a 21-year-old man and left a 25-year-old man with injuries on Tuesday night.

    More

    Dover police are investigating a shooting that killed a 21-year-old man and left a 25-year-old man injured on Tuesday night.

    More
  • Man Wounded in Seaford Shooting

    Man Wounded in Seaford Shooting

    Wednesday, June 28 2017 1:48 PM EDT2017-06-28 17:48:39 GMT
    Wednesday, June 28 2017 1:58 PM EDT2017-06-28 17:58:50 GMT

    Seaford police are investigating a shooting that left an 18-year-old man injured Wednesday morning.

    More

    Seaford police are investigating a shooting that left an 18-year-old man injured Wednesday morning.

    More
  • Five Hurt After Del. DOC Van, Two Other Vehicles Collide in Georgetown

    Five Hurt After Del. DOC Van, Two Other Vehicles Collide in Georgetown

    Wednesday, June 28 2017 3:56 PM EDT2017-06-28 19:56:08 GMT
    Wednesday, June 28 2017 11:38 PM EDT2017-06-29 03:38:33 GMT
    (Photo: MGN)(Photo: MGN)

    Authorities say a three-vehicle crash - including a Delaware Department of Correction van - sent five people to an area hospital on Wednesday morning. 

    More

    Authorities say a three-vehicle crash - including a Delaware Department of Correction van - sent five people to an area hospital on Wednesday morning. 

    More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Spectators Share Stories About Pony Swim

    Spectators Share Stories About Pony Swim

    WBOC's Maxine Bentzel reports on the people who came out to see the 91st Annual Chincoteague Pony Swim.

    More

    WBOC's Maxine Bentzel reports on the people who came out to see the 91st Annual Chincoteague Pony Swim.

    More
  • Delaware State Troopers Arrest Four For Burglary and Attempted Robbery, Still Looking For One More

    Delaware State Troopers Arrest Four For Burglary and Attempted Robbery, Still Looking For One More

    Delaware State Police say they have arrested four people and are looking for a fifth for burglaries in Kent and Sussex Counties and an attempted robbery near Milford.

    Police say detectives began their investigation in early July when there were a series of burglaries where the thieves were taking chainsaws and money. 

    More

    Delaware State Police say they have arrested four people and are looking for a fifth for burglaries in Kent and Sussex Counties and an attempted robbery near Milford.

    Police say detectives began their investigation in early July when there were a series of burglaries where the thieves were taking chainsaws and money. 

    More
  • Sinking House Near Fenwick Island

    Sinking House Near Fenwick Island

    A house is making its way into the bay near Fenwick Island and boaters warn against the dangers of debris in the water.

    Robert Mitchell, The Director of Environmental Programs for Worcester County, said that nearly 500 acres of land was given to them in a deed.

    Little did they know there would be a small house located on one of the many islands they acquired. A house, that they soon found out, is sinking into the water.

    More

    A house is making its way into the bay near Fenwick Island and boaters warn against the dangers of debris in the water.

    Robert Mitchell, The Director of Environmental Programs for Worcester County, said that nearly 500 acres of land was given to them in a deed.

    Little did they know there would be a small house located on one of the many islands they acquired. A house, that they soon found out, is sinking into the water.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices