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Coroner reports Richmond boy
died from years of abuse

Death ruled a homicide

By Caitilin McAdoo, Bay City News Service

January 9, 2007

RICHMOND (BCN) - An autopsy report completed late Monday on 8-year-old Raijon Daniels determined that the boy did not die from swallowing the cleaning agent Pine-Sol as his mother allegedly claimed, but instead died from years of continuous abuse diagnosed as "battered child syndrome".

Raijon's death has now been officially ruled a homicide, according to the report. Evidence of chronic physical abuse was found covering the boy's entire body.

"He had numerous bruises, scratches, marks, burns, and irritations from head to toe," the pathologist who conducted the autopsy reported. "His penis appeared to be either extremely irritated or infected. His left buttocks and upper left thigh appeared to be burned."

A detailed list of the boy's injuries fill more than two pages of the report and included cuts and scars with a "train track" pattern, consistent with cord or strap injuries, scars on his wrists and ankles consistent with old ligature marks and a "possible chemical injury" to his penis.

Although toxicology tests came back negative for Pine-Sol, the tests did find isoproponal, the main ingredient in rubbing alcohol, and acetone, the active ingredient in nail polish remover, in the boy's system.

The autopsy report also states that Raijon suffered from a condition known as ketoacidosis, which can be caused by starvation or diabetes. The pathologist reported that the thin fat layer found on the boy suggests that he had been starved.

The boy's mother, Teresa Moses, 23, has been charged with torture and child abuse. She will now likely face an additional charge of murder in connection with her son's death.

Moses is scheduled to appear in court Friday to enter a plea, according to the Contra Costa County district attorney's office.

Rescuers were called to Moses' home in the 700 block of S. 40th Street in Richmond about 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 28. They found Raijon non-responsive in his bedroom. He was rushed to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Richmond, but doctors were not able to revive him.

In a statement included in the coroner's report, a emergency room physician at Kaiser said that the boy's regular physician, Doctor Edmond Leo, told him that he had noted symptoms of past sexual abuse in March 2005 and again in September of 2005, the coroner's report states.

Lynn Yaney, spokeswoman for the county's Children and Family Services department, said that social workers from CFS had been to Moses' apartment three times to investigate allegations of abuse and that the police had been called to the home twice.

Yaney said that CFS had been told that Moses was protecting Raijon from the sexual abuse, giving social workers no justification for removing the boy from his home.

When police entered the home on Oct. 28, they found bottles of Pine-Sol lying open around the home, according to a statement police gave to the coroner.

A detective said in the autopsy report that Moses had made "a spontaneous statement at the scene that her son may have drank Pine-Sol," the autopsy report states. Investigators found a mixture of Pine-Sol and bleach in the apartment and evidence that Raijon had vomited in his bedroom and bathroom, according to the report.

Raijon urinated "all over" the apartment, Moses allegedly told investigators, and she left open bottles of cleaner throughout the apartment "to clean up the mess and kill the odor," the report states.

"(Raijon) was also often times locked in his room and watched on security cameras by his mother," the report states.

Allegations of abuse were first reported to CFS in 2002 when Raijon was 4 years old, according to a report CFS filed with the California Department of Social Services, Children's Services Operations Bureau.

In 2002, CFS received a report that Moses' boyfriend was physically abusing the boy, but no marks or bruises found on the boy. The case was "evaluated out," which means a social worker investigated the allegation and found that the reported concern did not meet the legal qualifications for abuse or neglect, Yaney said.

In March of 2005, when Raijon was 7, allegations that Raijon's stepfather had been sexually abusing him were reported to CFS. This time, CFS investigated and found that sexual abuse had occurred and that Moses had failed to protect her son, the CFS report states.

The case was later closed because Moses reportedly began protecting her son and cooperating with police.

Both Moses and Raijon were referred to therapy, the CFS report states.

Two months later, in May of 2005, CFS received a report that Raijon had been found digging through garbage for food. "When asked the child stated that he was hungry," the CFS report claims. Again, CFS "evaluated out" the allegations.

In September of 2005, it was reported that Raijon was found playing alone at a McDonald's restaurant. The boy said he had run away from home because his babysitter had handcuffed him to a bed while his mother was at work, according to the CFS report. Police returned Raijon to his home and CFS again "evaluated out" the case, this time because police were investigating the incident.

In November of 2005, CFS received another report stating that Raijon had run away from home and his mother had failed to contact the police for four hours.

CFS investigated and found that Moses had reported her son's disappearance as soon as she woke up and found him missing.

In the final complaint made to CFS, recorded in January of 2006, somebody alleged that Raijon's mother and biological father were physically and emotionally abusing him. An investigation found that the boy's parents had gotten into "scuffle" after the father came to pick up the child and he sustained "some scratches."

A CFS investigator reportedly talked to Raijon in private and he told the social worker that his mother "takes good care of him and that they do 'fun things together,'" the CFS report states.

Raijon's case was closed in February of 2006 after CFS found no evidence of physical or emotional abuse in the home. Allegations of "general neglect/substantial risk" however, were substantiated, the report states.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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