Boy, 4, dies after alleged whipping by stepfatherTuesday, July 20, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
CHILDREN'S Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison yesterday urged Jamaicans to embrace alternative methods of disciplining children following the death, Sunday, of four-year-old Nashawn Brown, who was allegedly beaten with a stick by his stepfather in Willowdene, St Catherine.
The Jamaica Observer understands that the child's mother was also beaten badly after she attempted to stop the attack on the boy. She was admitted to hospital and was yesterday receiving treatment for injuries sustained.
The accused, whose name is being withheld, has been taken into police custody and it is expected that criminal charges will be laid against him.
“The matter came to my attention and it raises so many factors. We do not have all the surrounding circumstances but the very base of the allegations would seem to suggest there was a beating which would have led to him losing his life. That is grave cause for concern and it puts back on the table the methods that we use to discipline children,” said Gordon Harrison.
“It also brings back on the table the level of frustration some parents apparently feel in their personal spaces with all the pressures that come with parenting. The initial allegations point to an absence of conflict-resolution skills without resorting to physical aggression. This example brings sharply into focus conflict resolution at the community level and in our homes,” the children's advocate said yesterday.
Around 7:00 pm Sunday, according to a police report, Nashawn was at home in Willowdene with his mother, the accused, and his (the accused's) teenage twin brothers.
Nashawn was not feeling well and was eating slowly, angering his stepfather, who allegedly broke a piece of stick, which he used to beat the child repeatedly, causing severe bruising and swelling to the boy's upper and lower limbs.
The mother reportedly attemped to reprimanded the stepfather over the attack on the boy and he allegedly used the same stick to hit her in the head, following which he reportedly used a metal broom to beat her all over her body, leading to swelling, bruises and her bleeding from a wound that was inflicted to her left arm.
The Observer learnt that after the incident, the boy went to the bathroom at which point the stepfather allegedly volunteered to give him a bath. Shortly after, the boy began exhibiting breathing problems and became unresponsive. He was rushed to Spanish Town Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A blood sample, broken pieces of stick, and a metal broom were all found at the scene and secured by police investigators as evidence.
Investigations by the Observer led to a premises in Waterhouse, St Andrew, yesterday where the twin boys lived up to recently.
Based on information from the father of the accused, his mother recently rented premises in St Catherine for him and his twin brothers. He said it was a wise move because he and the accused have not been living on good terms as, in his opinion, he was not displaying behaviour that would make a father proud of his son. He added that he was, however, disappointed that his twin boys were also at the location in St Catherine, particularly because they were with him (father of the accused) “and all of a sudden instructions came from their mother to move out”.
The father of the accused said that anything could have happened to his twins and used the opportunity to underscore the importance of parents communicating with each other about their children.