JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Police are investigating after a child died after being found in a Jacksonville Beach home.
While Jacksonville Beach Police are only calling it a death investigation, multiple sources say a 3-year-old boy died at the hospital and his mother is the suspect.
Around 5 p.m. Tuesday, officers responded to a medical call on Republic Drive, according to police. That call later turned into a death investigation.
The boy’s mother, 46-year-old Amy Oliver, is currently facing charges of aggravated assault on an emergency care provider and possession of a controlled substance, the News4Jax I-Team learned Wednesday. Oliver is not accused in the death of the boy.
Court records show the child was at the center of a custody dispute between his parents.
Police tape could be seen near the intersection of Republic Drive and America Avenue on Tuesday night as police towed away an SUV as evidence, searched the home and interviewed witnesses. The home in the family-friendly neighborhood was quiet on Wednesday afternoon.
Police said more information would be released publicly at some point on Wednesday.
Forensic psychologist Justin D’Arienzo says filicide, the act of a parent killing their child, can be due to a number of factors, though it’s worth noting that D’Arienzo is not involved in the case and the child’s mother is not charged with the 3-year-old’s death.
News4Jax spoke to D’Arienzo in broad terms about similar cases and what could be the driving factor in those situations.
“A parent can be acutely psychotic or number two there is a history of child treatment, where a child has been battered or this is an unattended death,” D’Arienzo said. “There can be altruistic reasons where it’s an act of love where they’re trying to help the child avoid perceived suffering. It can be due to an unwanted child.”
“In 40% of cases, there is usually mental illness. But in addition, there can be drug or alcohol use, or separation parenting disputes also,” he added.
Records show Oliver is being held at a facility other than the jail, likely the hospital.
Dr. D’Arienzo said the case could be a sad reminder to look out for warning signs even though they’re not always visible.
“Often it does come out of the blue,” he said. “It can be somebody that has postpartum depression or that nature. Sometimes it can be a very rash act where it comes out of the blue. And there are no red flags.”
As police continue to investigate, the neighborhood is in mourning, heartbroken for the family of the boy they say was a ray of sunshine.