What to Know
- Zymere Perkins, 6, died Sept. 26 after what prosecutors say was months of abuse by his mother and her boyfriend
- The medical examiner has determined he died from fatal child abuse syndrome in a homicide
- City officials have acknowledged that the mother, Geraldine Perkins, was investigated five times for abuse allegations
The city medical examiner has determined that Zymere Perkins, the 6-year-old New York City boy who died last month last week after allegedly being abused by his mother's boyfriend, died from fatal child abuse syndrome.
That means he showed evidence of acute and chronic abuse and neglect that ultimately led to his death, according to the medical examiner's office. The manner of death was homicide.
Zymere Perkins died Sept. 26 after what prosecutors say was months of abuse by his mother and her boyfriend. On the day he died, his mother's boyfriend allegedly beat him with a broomstick and hung him by his shirt over the back of the bathroom door, apparently enraged when the boy defecated in the living room of their Hamilton Heights apartment.
Zymere was left on the bed unconscious and when he didn't wake up, was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.
NYPD detectives, who investigated Perkins' case, raised over $9,000 to help pay for the boy's wake and funeral on Oct. 7.
"It was the least we could do," one detective told The New York Post. "The poor kid went through hell."
"He didn't get a chance to live his life," a former neighbor named Jamal said at Zymere's funeral at the Church of the Open Door in Brooklyn. "For his life to be taken so suddenly, I'm heartbroken."
"No little kid should be taken like that," said another neighbor, Jiniah Spruill.
The boy had spent time in a homeless shelter with his mother before living in the squalid, roach-infested Hamilton Heights apartment, sources have told NBC 4. He had not been attending school this year.
Both his mother, Geraldine Perkins, and her boyfriend, Rysheim Smith, were arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child. The charges could be upgraded after the medical examiner's ruling.
City officials have acknowledged that the mother was investigated five times for abuse allegations.
Mayor de Blasio has said that Zymere Perkins' death was "an unacceptable tragedy" and added that "the buck stops here."
Gladys Carrion, the commissioner of children's services, admitted in a tearful interview with the I-Team that "we can't keep every child safe."
Carrion said in the interview Tuesday that "just one fatality is one too many" but declined to discuss any details about the boy's case. She said that it was too early to characterize whether her agency dropped the ball and added that the staff who handled Perkins' case were in bad shape.
Five ACS employees were placed on modified duty after Perkins' death, and Carrion didn't rule out the possibility she could be fired.