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W.Va. 2-year-old's death in May is ruled homicide

September 11, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Berkeley County Sheriff's Department investigators want to talk to a 24-year-old man whom they have identified as a "subject of interest" in the May 24 homicide of a 2-year-old Martinsburg-area boy.

Ny'eal Ezra Mills, of 191 Moonlight Lane in Wildflower Creek subdivision, died as a result of "fatal assault(s)," according to death records at the Berkeley County Courthouse.

"We did get confirmation that it was a homicide ...," Sheriff's Department Deputy Sgt. D.S. McGown said Monday.

The West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's final report indicates the child's liver was lacerated, McGown said.

"It was caused by some kind of force," McGown said.

Mills, who would have turned 3 on Oct. 1, was pronounced dead at City Hospital in Martinsburg less than 30 minutes after emergency dispatchers received a call that the boy was in cardiac arrest at his home off W.Va. 45.

The child's mother and her former boyfriend were at the home when the child died, said McGown, the lead investigator in the case.

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"He was one of two people at the residence," McGown said of the subject of interest. Police have said the man is not the child's biological father.

Since the child's death, McGown said, the former boyfriend of the child's mother has been residing in the Frederick, Md., area. He was expected to go to the sheriff's department to talk with investigators, but he failed to show up. Authorities believe he is in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"We're looking to talk to him," McGown said.

Mills' death certificate was filed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on June 6, according to courthouse records. But three weeks later, Sheriff's Department Criminal Investigations Division Supervisor Deputy Lt. Gary Harmison said the agency was waiting for a final report from the medical examiner's office, which he indicated had backed away from its initial findings.

While police were at the boy's home investigating the death May 24, the boy's mother confirmed in a brief interview that she dialed 911 from the residence at about 11 a.m.

Initially dispatched to City Hospital, deputies learned that a man contacted family members there from the boy's home and indicated he was very upset and intended to cause harm to himself as a result of the child's death, police have said.

The man could not be found by police when they arrived at the home, but he returned on foot hours later wearing a long, gray shirt that appeared to have a substantial amount of blood on the front of it and blue jeans also spattered with blood. His wrist was bleeding.

Police said the man was treated for self-inflicted injuries at City Hospital and released.

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