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Toddler's death ruled homicide

June 01, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - The death last week of a 2-year-old Martinsburg-area boy has been ruled a homicide, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely said Thursday.

Games-Neely declined to release the cause of death for Ny'eal Ezra Mills or any other findings by the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston, W.Va., where an autopsy was performed. The child's name was released by Berkeley County Sheriff's Lt. Gary Harmison.

"The investigation is hot and heavy right now," Games-Neely said.

Emergency officials received a report about 11 a.m. May 24 that the child was in cardiac arrest. The boy was taken to City Hospital from his home at 191 Moonlight Lane, east of Martinsburg off W.Va. 45, and pronounced dead at the hospital. Medics could not revive the child.

Police said the child's medical history was not consistent with cardiac arrest and described the boy's death as suspicious.

Berkeley County Sheriff W. Randy Smith said Thursday that no arrest warrants were issued in the case, and he clarified that he had not received written notice of the child's manner or cause of death from the state medical examiner's office.

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Smith said he believed the child's funeral service was Thursday in Frederick, Md., where the boy's mother and her boyfriend are staying.

While sheriff's deputies were at the hospital talking with family members of the boy, they learned that a male family member had contacted the child's relatives from the boy's home and indicated he was "very upset" and intended to cause harm to himself as a result of the death, police said.

Police said they could not find the man after they arrived at the residence. Hours later, the returned wearing a long gray shirt that appeared to have a substantial amount of blood on the front of it and blue jeans that also appeared to be splattered with blood. His wrist also was bleeding.

Police said the man was the boyfriend of the child's mother and that he was treated for self-inflicted injuries at City Hospital. Smith said the boyfriend was released from the hospital.

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