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Toddler dies after abuse in South Jamaica home

A 2-1/2-year-old boy who was severely beaten and found unconscious in his South Jamaica home last week died from his injuries July 11, police said.

Wayne Vincent, who lived in the same home as the boy, has been charged with assaulting him, but by press time he had not been charged with homicide, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

The young boy, Zaire Bobbit, died as the result of battered child syndrome, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. His death was officially ruled a homicide last Thursday, she said.

The city Administration for Children’s Services is investigating whether the child’s day care provider neglected to report signs that the child was abused, said Jennifer Falk, a spokeswoman for that agency.

The child’s twin brother, who was placed in foster care as a result of his brother’s death, shows no sign of having been abused, Falk said.

Vincent, who lived in the child’s home at 123-26 146th St. in South Jamaica, was arrested July 6 and charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.

Newsday reported Vincent was 21 years old and the boyfriend of Zaire’s mother, Shakesha Bobbit. Police would not confirm this report.

The Administration for Children’s Services received a report June 27 of alleged abuse against the boy, Falk said. The city agency contacted the child’s mother, who said Zaire had seen a doctor at Queens Hospital because of injuries he suffered from falling down the stairs, Falk said.

Zaire’s day care center, Afro-American Parents Day Care Center, at 117-16 Sutphin Blvd., had recommended that the child see a doctor and the hospital confirmed that the mother’s story about falling down the stairs was plausible, Falk said.

At that point, the agency was set to have the child examined by the city nurse, but on that date, July 5, the boy was found unconscious at 5:46 p.m. at his South Jamaica home, said Detective Nancy Yule, a police spokeswoman.

The child arrived at Jamaica Hospital in cardiac arrest and although doctors were able to revive him, he remained in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit during the remainder of his stay at the hospital, said Tara Fleming, a hospital spokeswoman.

The child suffered multiple fractures to the skull, hemorrhaging and brain swelling, Borakove said.

Zaire Bobbit was 3 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 30 pounds at the time of his death, which is about average, Borakove said. Police listed the child’s age as 3, while the hospital said he was 2 1/2.

The Administration for Children’s Services is continuing to investigate the case in order to determine if the day care center, doctors, or others who are required under the law to report suspected child abuse failed to do so, Falk said.

“We have reason to believe this abuse was known to those around the child, including those at the day care center,” Falk said.

Afro-American Parents Day Care Center declined to comment Monday.

No one was home at the Bobbits’ small, single-family home near Rockaway Boulevard Monday and a neighbor would only say that the family had been renting the home.

The neighbor knew there were twin boys living in the house, but rarely saw the children outside, she said.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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