Share This Page

East Hills baby who died was burned with chemical, police say

| Monday, March 4, 2013, 10:09 a.m.
The East Hills apartment where someone poured bleach or a similar chemical on a baby who died Saturday, March 2, 2013. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

Someone poured bleach or a similar chemical on a baby who died in an East Hills apartment surrounded by relatives and other children, Pittsburgh police said on Monday.

Investigators are trying to determine how Xavier Washington, 21 months, died and who is responsible. His twin brother, Aries, also has chemical burns and is in serious condition in Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville.

“It's an unusual case, and we're anticipating additional information as far as the cause and manner of death. And we believe that will give us a better idea of exactly what happened and who is responsible,” said Kevin Kraus, acting commander of major crimes.

Police removed the twins and their brother, 8, from the Larimer home of their mother, Regina Hunt, 27, in October when she left them unattended in dirty conditions. They were in the care of her sister, Denise Hunt.

Neither woman could be reached.

“That's really sad about the baby. Oh, Jesus,” said Stardra Smith, 52, who has lived in the East Hills apartment complex for almost two years but does not know the family.

Paramedics pronounced Xavier dead at 5:22 a.m. Saturday in Denise Hunt's apartment on East Hills Drive, where someone called for help.

An autopsy revealed he did not die naturally, but tests are needed to determine a cause. Officials won't know until tests come back in six to 24 weeks, said Marty Coyne, a supervisor in the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.

The twins and their brother were among six children ranging in age from 4 months to 8 years who were in the apartment with Denise Hunt's daughter, Marchika Hunt, 18, and the daughter's friend Marlisa Kirkland, 24, police said. Denise Hunt was not in the apartment, Kraus said.

Regina Hunt arrived about 5 a.m. and found Xavier unresponsive on the living-room floor, police said.

After police and paramedics arrived, detectives were explaining to Regina Hunt that they were going to take her to headquarters to explain the investigation when she ran down the stairs and punched Kirkland twice, the complaint said.

Police arrested Regina Hunt. She was released from the county jail on Sunday.

Kraus said he was not sure why Regina Hunt attacked Kirkland.

According to a criminal complaint filed on Saturday, Regina Hunt told police she was homeless, had drug and alcohol issues and suffered from schizophrenia and depression.

Kraus said detectives would discuss with prosecutors possible charges in Xavier's death and his brother's injury.

Staff writer Margaret Harding contributed to this story. Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.