It’s the story the nation has been talking about all week. A mother is found at a park in Maryland at 7 in the morning pushing a swing that has the lifeless body of her 3 year old son. The mother we know now is Romechia Simms. The boy, Ji-Aire Lee had been the subject of a custody battle as recent as last week with the boy’s father, James Lee. In recent statements to NBC, Lee stated that “'[The judge] deemed her, at that moment, a fit parent. I’m not saying she isn’t, but in this situation, he just didn’t pay attention to the signs.” Lee has to wonder how the judicial system failed him and his son so badly.
As of now, Simms has not been charged with any crime in the death of her son. Autopsy results are pending and Simms has been hospitalized since Friday when the child’s body was discovered in the La Plata, Maryland playground. Lee has stated that, ““I have a stable roof for him to be under, for him to have the life that he’s supposed to have.” This father, heartbroken and now wondering what more he could have done to protect his son. Speaking about the custody hearing, “When I presented my case, I felt like he, (the judge) should have looked more in depth of what was being said rather than trying to ice it over so we could co-parent.” According to Lee, two days before his son was found dead in the swing, Simms called Lee demanding the he drop what he was doing, which was that he was at work, and come and pick her and their son up immediately. When Lee was done for the day at his job, he called Simms repeatedly but she did not respond to messages or answer his calls. Then on Friday morning, Simms mother, Vontasha Simms that his little boy was gone. The grandmother denies that her daughter would ever do anything to harm her grandson.
What did sway the judge to give primary custody to Simms? Today, while researching the background of Simms, court records indicate that Simms had indeed a criminal record. Court records for the State of Maryland indicate that in May of 2011 Simms was cited for Assault in the 2nd Degree. The case was dismissed in October of 2011. Then in 2012, Simms was once again cited for assault in August. Again the case was dismissed in January of 2013. Then in 2013, an order of protection was filed against Simms, in June and in the order, the court mandated that Sims “SHALL NOT ABUSE, SHALL NOT CONTACT, SHALL VACATE THE HOME and SHALL NOT ENTER RESIDENCE.” This order expired in July of 2013 due to the petitioner not appearing. While fact checking for this article, an arrest record for Lee was not found.
Now, as Lee prepares to bury his 3 year old son, he wonders what more could have been done to protect his son. In an interview with Fox News, Lee tells how he is finding strength in his family and faith. “That’s what is getting me through — family — that’s all you need, and faith in God,” he said. “That’s all I need. It’s going to be tough, but we’re going to get through it.”
The friends of James Lee have created a GoFundMe page to help Lee with expenses for the funeral. The page can be found at www.gofundme.com/vcwg24c.