"He just didn't pay attention to the signs," James Lee said of the judge who denied him sole custody of his son

By Tara Fowler
Updated May 26, 2015 04:45 PM
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The father of the dead 3-year-old boy who was found being pushed by his mother in a Maryland park swing on Friday says that he warned a judge about the mother’s possible mental illness.

James Lee told NBC Washington that he thinks the legal system is partially to blame for his son Ji’Aire’s death.

Lee had gone to court seeking sole custody of Ji’Aire, claiming that he suspected the boy’s mother, Romechia Simms, was suffering from mental illness, but he says the judge disagreed.

“He deemed her, at that moment, a fit parent,” Lee said. “I’m not saying she isn’t, but in this situation, he just didn’t pay attention to the signs.”

Police have not charged Simms with any crime. She was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation after police received reports of a woman who had been pushing a child in a swing for an unusually long period of time. Authorities indicated that she could have been at the park in question since the day before.

An autopsy for Ji’Aire was completed on Monday, but no cause of death has been released. Police previously stated that his body showed no signs of physical trauma.

“It came out of nowhere for me,” Lee said of the moment he learned that his son was dead, adding that the legal system benefits mothers over fathers.

“Women get slapped on the wrist,” he said. “Men get grinded into dog meat.”

Simms’ mother Vontasha insists her daughter is innocent. “[Romechia] would never harm my grandson in any type of way,” she told WUSA. “You know, I just believe she had some type of mental illness, some type of mental break that came upon her where she wasn’t able to get herself out of that situation.”

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