Parma police investigate homicide of 5-year-old boy; Man in custody

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PARMA, Ohio (WJW)– The Parma Police Department is investigating the death of a five-year-old boy.

It happened Thursday afternoon in the 4700 hundred block of Russell Avenue. Parma police said a 31-year-old man, believed to be the boy’s father, was arrested in connection with the homicide.

Neighbors reported hearing a commotion before seeing emergency crews arrive.

Parma investigators spent several hours inside and outside of the home. Detectives were seen carrying away evidence in paper bags. They provided few details about how the boy was killed or why.

Meanwhile, the family is devastated and neighbors are stunned.

“I just wanted to bring something I thought a little five-year-old would like and so I got him a stuffed bunny and brought him some colorful flowers,” said neighbor Amanda Bohach.

Bohach and her 11-year-old son, Ariez Gomez, laid mementos in front of the home where the boy was killed Thursday afternoon. 

“The kid never got to experience his first day at school and Easter being right around the corner, I just thought it was awful,” said Bohach.

“The world’s a messed up place,” said her 11-year-old son.

Erik Zitney shared a video he took of the scene shortly after he arrived.  It shows police surrounding a stretcher with a man handcuffed behind his back before officers are seen wheeling him out with his arm strapped down.

“We saw a gentleman in the rear of a police car with no shirt on, he’s got blood on his leg. They took him from the police car, put him on a stretcher via handcuffs,” said Zitney.

“It’s just upsetting,” said Ryan Powell.

“It breaks your heart. I got eight grandkids myself, so it’s like unbelievable,” said neighbor Donald White.

Neighbors we spoke to say they know little about the 31-year-old suspect or the family that lives in the home.  They describe the area as a typically quiet street with friendly neighbors.

“As a mother, it’s sad, it’s really sad. An innocent child lost his life, for what?” said a neighbor, who did not want to be identified.

“It’s like kids were getting off the school bus and so…it broke my heart and I just couldn’t imagine anything like that ever happening,” said Bohach.

Parma police have not released the names of the five-year-old boy or the suspect.  They say the case remains under investigation and they expect to release more details at a later time.

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