Miami-Dade police investigate death of 1-year-old boy

Neighbors say boy appeared badly burned

By Liane Morejon - Reporter, Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Police are investigating the death of a 1-year-old boy in southwest Miami-Dade County.

The investigation was centered on a home in the 12000 block of Southwest 217th Street.

Miami-Dade police would only say that officers were called to the home about a child not breathing, but neighbors who spoke to Local 10 News said they heard the child's mother screaming for help. They said the boy appeared to have been badly burned.

"We was next door, across the street, and we heard the screams and the hollering, so we ran over to see what was going on," Molita Cunningham said.  

Neighbors said the incident happened in Naranja, and the baby's mother sought help from family members on Southwest 217th Street.

"The baby was lying on a dirty mattress in, like, a jumper," Cunningham said. "Apparently, they thought the baby was choking, so when fire rescue came to revive then baby and zip down the baby's onesie, the baby was burned from the neck all the way to his knees." 

Another witness, Jay Joseph, said his father tried to help before authorities arrived.

"My dad tried to perform CPR, but the baby was too far gone," he said.  

Randolph Joseph said the mother tried giving her son apple juice, but the baby started choking. That's when he tried to perform CPR.

"The baby took a breath and then his eyes rolled back and I said, 'Oh no,'" Randolph Joseph said. "This is the worst I've seen all my life. I've seen a lot of things, but this one takes the cake." 

Police have not confirmed the condition of the baby or the circumstances behind his death, but neighbors believe the baby suffered burns overnight in Naranja before being taken to the relative's home.

They believe the outcome may have been different if he would have been rushed to a hospital instead. 

"If it happened in Naranja, then the baby could've been taken to Homestead Hospital or they could've called for help there," Jay Joseph said.  

Miami-Dade police said investigators are interviewing the mother to gather all pertinent information.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death. 

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