The Department of Human Services is working with the V.I. Police Department and launching an internal investigation into the child abuse related death of 4-year-old Aaron Benjamin Jr. The child’s biological father has said he previously contacted Human Services with concerns about the child’s welfare.
According to the department, they hope to “ensure the department’s best efforts to prevent any such recurrence in the future.
“During this emotional time, our hearts and prayers go out to the family of little Aaron and to our Virgin Islands community,” Human Services Commissioner designee Kimberley Causey-Gomez said in a statement. “May we all choose to demonstrate kindness, sensitivity and support to those most affected by this tragedy,” she added.
The men and women of the Department of Human Services are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of the youngest among us, commissioner Causey-Gomez said.
“Social workers in the Virgin Islands work every day to stop potential harm to the territory’s children and youth. … However, when children are hurt or worse, it is imperative that we investigate and arrive at answers and solutions immediately,”
Benjamin was found dead Friday, Oct. 11, at his mother’s home in Lorraine Village on St. Croix. The mother, Delicia Daniel, 29, and her boyfriend Kyle Christopher, 22, were arrested Sunday and charged in relation to the death. Both now face charges of first-degree murder, third-degree assault/domestic violence, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, aggravated assault and battery/domestic violence, child abuse and child neglect. Both are being held by the V.I. Bureau of Corrections. Bail was set at $1 million each.
According to the police, on Friday the 911 emergency call center received a call from the Lorraine Village Housing Community in Grove Place on St. Croix, reporting an unresponsive 4-year-old male. At the scene, officers and emergency medical technicians discovered the body of an unresponsive boy inside the apartment on the bathroom floor. CPR was administered by medical attendants unsuccessfully.
Medical personnel reported that the minor had been badly abused, malnourished and had different stages of lacerations on his body, the police report said.