East Hills baby who died was burned with chemical, police say
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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