Woman found pushing dead 3-year-old son in swing indicted

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Monday, September 14, 2015
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BALTIMORE -- 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.

The Charles County State's Attorney's Office announced that Romechia Simms, 24, was arrested Saturday and faced an arraignment Monday morning.

Simms and her 3-year-old son, Ji'Aire Donnell Lee, arrived at Wills Memorial Park the morning of May 20, county sheriff's office spokeswoman Diane Richardson said in May. The mother put the boy, who was alive, into the swing, where he stayed until he and his mother were found the morning of May 22.

The indictment charges her with manslaughter, first-degree child abuse and child neglect.

Sheriff's deputies went to the park about 7 a.m. on May 22 after being called to check on the welfare of the woman and child, Richardson said. The officers went to remove the boy from the swing and give him first aid, but "it was instantaneously clear the child was dead," she said. There were no signs of trauma to his body. Simms was taken to a hospital for an evaluation.

One side of the park is bordered by woods in La Plata, a town about 30 miles southeast of Washington, with a population of about 8,700, according to the town's website. The park is in view of a few houses.

A medical examiner had previously ruled the boy died of dehydration and low body temperature. His death was ruled a homicide.

May 21 was cold for late May, Richardson said, "rather chilly and it drizzled all night."

Family members have said Simms was suffering from mental illness.

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