Woman located in psych ward after son found dead

Holly Fournier, and Candice Williams

Detroit — The family of a toddler found dead in a Detroit apartment Wednesday after his mother was hospitalized said the woman “had some problems” with depression but was believed to be working with a social service agency.

Detroit Police stand near the entrance of an apartment at the Madison Estates on Wednesday May after a toddler was found dead inside an apartment.

The toddler’s mother was found in a Downriver crisis center, according to the Detroit Police Department. Police did not release the mother’s name, but family identified her as Deanna Minor. The boy has been identified as Aaron Minor.

“Deanna had some problems, but social services was supposed to be working with her,” said Minor’s grandmother, Beverly Mylum. “She was a loving and giving mother. I didn’t see any signs of abuse.

“She was going through depression for a very long time,” Mylum continued. “She just snapped. She was quiet. I have no knowledge of alcohol or drugs.”

Mylum described Aaron as an average toddler who was always well groomed. She said her granddaughter kept a clean home.

Mylum said the family is reeling from the loss of the boy.

“I’ve lost one and I know it’s painful,” she said.

Officials are not identifying the hospital providing treatment.

“The morgue is doing the autopsy and we’re still doing a very thorough investigation, but knowing where she’s at is reassuring that if need be, we can take her into custody,” Detroit police Officer Jennifer Moreno said.

The mother may never face charges, according to Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt, who said the woman appears to suffer from an unspecified mental illness.

"So even if we do find that this was a homicide, I don't know if we can charge," he said.

That decision would be made by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

"I don't even know if the mother knows the child is dead," he said.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office said the death is being investigated as a homicide, police said.

"The boy's father has been incarcerated for quite some time, so he’s not being looked at as a person of interest in this case," Moreno said. Further details on his situation were not available.

The toddler was found around 2:40 p.m. Wednesday by a maintenance worker at the Madison Estates complex on the 4400 block of Trumbull, in the Woodbridge neighborhood, just west of Midtown.

“The maintenance man was servicing an apartment across the hall and certainly the odor caused him to check,” 1st Assistant Chief Lashinda Stair said Wednesday.

"The room was in disarray," Dolunt said. "Food (and) medicine, scattered about."

The maintenance worker called police to report the discovery.

The apartment was empty and there were no obvious signs of trauma, Stair said Wednesday.

Police believe the boy was dead in the apartment for more than a week, Moreno said. His exact age is unknown due to his recent third birthday.

“We don’t know if he expired before his birthday or after,” Moreno said. “I think we’re considering him to be 2 years old.”

Moreno declined to release the boy’s date of birth.

The boy's body was found one day after his mother was released from an Ann Arbor hospital where she was treated for a medical emergency, Moreno said. The woman was found May 17 unresponsive on the lawn at the apartment complex. Emergency personnel were called and she was taken to a Detroit hospital before being transferred to Ann Arbor.

She was released Tuesday and entered psychiatric treatment sometime this week, Moreno said.

It remained unclear Thursday what caused the woman’s collapse last week or if she alerted anyone that there was a child at home, according to Stair.

April Fowler, a neighbor, said she saw usually the mother walking with her son in his stroller every day. The woman has lived in the complex for about a year, Fowler said.

“She’s always been with her child,” the neighbor said. “It’s very alarming because we’ve seen her all the time.”

The last time Fowler said she saw the woman was last week, which would have been before the woman’s hospitalization.

“So many days went by and I wondered if she moved,” said Fowler, adding that she didn’t notice any crying from the apartment.

“A 2-year-old is going to cry,” Fowler said. “You would know the pattern of a baby who would not stop crying and it would make you stop and bang on the door. I never heard any cries and I had to walk that way several times.”

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