Boy, 4, dies of severe head injuries; Mum charged
For five days, the small, clear plastic bag was kept in a refrigerator at a relative's home.
In the tiny bag was a piece of skull from a four-year-old boy.
The boy died on Tuesday afternoon at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) after fighting to stay alive for five days.
He suffered from what was described in court documents as "an acute left subdural haematoma" or bleeding in the brain.
On Monday, his mother was charged with causing grievous hurt by a rash act.
Now, relatives and the boy's father are struggling to deal with the double tragedy.
The piece of skull was handed over to the police yesterday, said a relative.
We are not naming the parties as the child is a minor.
The boy was sent unconscious last Friday to Changi General Hospital from his home in the east and then sent to KKH where he was warded.
A relative said they were told he had fallen at home. The relative, who declined to be named, spoke to The New Paper on Monday at KKH.
The boy suffered head injuries and had to undergo emergency surgery early on Saturday morning to stabilise his condition.
Pointing to his right palm, the man said in Malay: "The bone is slightly smaller than my palm. We were supposed to bury it, but we found it hard to let a piece of him go.
"We are still unsure what had happened to him (the boy)."
TNP understands the skull fragment was dislodged from the left side of the boy's head. It is unclear when or how the bone had come off.
Last Friday evening, the boy's father was alerted that his son, who had been living with his biological mother, had been admitted to hospital.
The boy's parents divorced several years ago and his father had remarried.
The boy's condition appeared serious as he had suffered a head injury, said the male relative.
"It's barely one week into Hari Raya and this had to happen. All we were told was that he (the boy) fell at home," said the relative in his 40s. "I just don't understand how his fall can be so severe."
At the time of the incident, the boy and his seven-year-old sister were living with their mother in a rental flat, said a female relative at the hospital.
The boy, who had been on a life support system since Saturday morning, was described as jovial and active.
TNP understands that the boy's father was initially hopeful of his son's recovery. But all hope was lost when doctors updated the family on Monday afternoon about the boy's condition, she said.
"We were praying for a miracle. But when we saw the results of the brain scan, we knew it was hopeless... There was no brain activity."
The male relative had also hoped for a miracle as he had read stories of people leading normal lives after parts of their brain or skull were damaged.
"Now that chance for survival is gone," said the male relative.
The boy's father and stepmother, who had kept a bedside vigil since Saturday, declined to be interviewed when approached on Monday.
Grief-stricken, the father said he was not in the right frame of mind to speak.
A police spokesman told TNP on Tuesday: "It is inappropriate to comment as the case has gone to court."
We were praying for a miracle. But when we saw the results of the brain scan, we knew it was hopeless.
- A relative
CHILD ABUSE CASES
1 Sri Alyaniz Nazri, two, died of brain injuries on Oct 14, 2009.
She was violently abused by her mother's boyfriend over 18 days.
He headbutted the toddler and stepped on her abdomen, fracturing her ribs.
He was jailed for 12 years and given 12 strokes of the cane.
2 Natalie Nikie Alisyia Sallehan, 23 months old, died on Jan 6, 2009, after her father hit her for crushing and eating some of his cigarettes.
She died from a tear in a major vein.
Her father was jailed for 10 years and given 10 strokes of the cane.
3 Nur Asyura Mohamed Fauzi, known affectionately as Nonoi, two, died in March 2006 after being dunked into a pail of water three times by her stepfather, Mohammed Ali Johari, 30.
She had also been slapped and punched.
He later dumped her body under a pile of rubbish beneath the Aljunied flyover.
Mohammed Ali was convicted of her murder and was hanged in 2008.