JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The death of a 4-year-old boy rushed to a hospital last week with internal injuries has been ruled a murder, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
The boy’s heartbroken uncle called News4Jax from Dallas, telling us James Reese Jr. was brought to Wolfson Children’s Hospital for a broken collarbone, and doctors found head injuries, too.
According to the database, the incident that caused the boy’s death occurred April 15, but the death was not determined to be a murder until April 22.
The boy’s uncle, Christoper Nastazi, sat at his bedside when the family made the difficult decision to take him off life support.
“It’s the most horrific thing I have ever witnessed in my life,” Nastazi said.
Nastazi said the Florida Department of Children and Families took James and his three siblings away from their mother one year ago.
“The removal was not due to negligence or abuse or drug use. It was due to the fact my sister was a victim herself -- in an abusive relationship that was difficult for her to get out of,” Nastazi said.
Where James suffered the injuries was not listed on the JSO database, something that is often seen when the incident occurs where the victim is living, because knowing the location might lead to identifying the victim, which JSO declines to do for any homicide case, citing Marsy’s Law.
The mother was allowed to have supervised visits with her children via Zoom. After a recent visit, Nastazi said the mother expressed concern to authorities that James was withdrawn and reluctant to be on camera. She was told that he was not feeling well.
No arrests have been made in the case. News4Jax has requested more information about James’ death from both the Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office.
The family is holding a vigil for James on Friday night at Jacksonville Beach. News4Jax will be there to learn more about James.