The death of a 3-year-old Fort Worth boy who died Easter Sunday in state custody is being investigated as a murder, and his mother said she warned child welfare workers weeks ago that he was being physically abused.
Amari Boone, who was in the custody of court-appointed caregivers, was taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center Friday morning with severe head trauma, police said in a statement.
In addition, his parents said every one of his fingers and both arms were broken.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"He was amazing,” his mother Ariana George said. “He was the most brightest spirit you have ever met."
George lost custody of her son about a year ago after she fell on hard times and became homeless, she said.
Amari lived with an aunt for a while.
And when she couldn't care for him anymore, a judge ordered him to live with two men who were friends of his parents.
"We both thought we knew them,” George said.
But soon after getting custody, the friends took him to the hospital with a sprained ankle, saying he fell down some stairs, according to the parents.
During a visit early last month, Amari’s mother said she noticed what appeared to be new bruises and a swollen lip and eyes.
She said she complained to CPS and even sent the photos as evidence.
"I gave it to my CPS caseworker. I gave it to her supervisor. And I gave it to my boy's lawyer,” George said.
But nobody did anything, she said.
Amari stayed with the same caregivers.
On Friday, the boy showed up at the hospital again with extensive injuries.
Amari died on Easter Sunday.
His mother said he'd still be alive if CPS had taken her complaint seriously.
"I think they failed,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “They failed miserably. Because I gave them the information they needed and the pictures that I have."
In a statement, CPS said it was working with the Fort Worth Police Department to find out what happened and who was responsible.
"Before the children were allowed to live in that home, background checks and visits to the home were conducted," CPS said.
CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said she could not comment further until the internal investigation was finished.
On March 22, Cook Children's warned of a spike in child abuse cases linked to "stresses from the COVID-19 pandemic."
The hospital said then that it had treated seven cases of severe abuse of children under 4 years old in the previous week and two of the children died.
The numbers did not include Amari.
"He was amazing,” his mother said. “He was the most brightest spirit you have ever met. He was so tiny but had such a big personality. He was just an awesome kid and didn't deserve this at all."
Police said the investigation was continuing, but no arrests had been made.
George said she hasn’t been homeless months and wanted to win custody of her son again.
She was following every request of her but CPS turned her down.
“They’ve not done a very good job of protecting my child,” she said.
The agency allowed her to comfort him in the hospital in his final hours.
"I have to make sure my son rests in peace,” George said. “I talk to him all the time and tell him that I"m here, I'm still here, I love you, I never left your side and I believed you from the jump and we're going to get justice for you."