Death of Maryland boy pushed in swing for three days ruled homicide

(Reuters) - The death of a 3-year-old Maryland boy discovered last month in a park swing where his mother had been pushing him for three days has been ruled a homicide, authorities said on Tuesday.

The boy died of dehydration and hypothermia, according to a statement from Charles County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Diane Richardson.

Officers found the boy, Ji’Aire Lee, around 7 a.m. on May 22 after witnesses reported seeing a woman pushing a child on a swing for an unusually long time at a park in La Plata, about 35 miles (55 km) south of Washington, Richardson said.

When the officers arrived they found the 24-year-old mother, who has not been identified, still pushing the child, and realized immediately that he was dead.

The boy and his mother had been at the park since Wednesday morning, Richardson said. Police found them Friday.

The boy was alive Wednesday when he was placed in the swing where he stayed until police found him, Richardson said.

Police did not give a time of death, but Thursday's temperatures were unseasonably cold, Richardson said.

There were no obvious signs of trauma. The mother was taken to a hospital for an evaluation.

No charges have been filed pending a review by the Charles County State's Attorney's Office.

(Reporting by John Clarke; Editing by Ian Simpson and Eric Walsh)

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