Manchester child in intensive care in Boston; father accused of injuring him held without bail

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Screenshot 2023 01 20 4.07.45 PM
Jaevion Riley, 7, remains hospitalized with multiple injuries allegedly inflicted by his father.

MANCHESTER, NH – A 7-year-old boy is in a Boston hospital suffering from a serious head injury as well as burns to his body inflicted by his father, according to police.

Murtadah Mohammad, 25, of 199 Eastern Ave., Apt. 3, told investigators he didn’t mean to burn him as badly as did; he just wanted him to learn his lesson, according to court filings.

Mohammad is being held without bail.  He waived arraignment Friday in Hillsborough County Superior Court on charges of first-degree assault; two counts of second-degree assault; endangering the welfare of a child, and two charges of falsifying physical evidence. Police said he may be facing more charges.

Rainah Riley, the child’s mother, told NBC Channel 10 Boston that her son, Jaevion, is in a coma after being rushed to Mass General in Boston.  Jaevion, she said, is fighting for his life after being burned and beaten. Riley said doctors told her to prepare for the worst, and that if her son wakens from the coma, he will have minimal brain function. He is being treated for skull and rib fractures, bleeding in the brain, lung injuries, severe burns and more.

A police affidavit on file in Superior Court, lists a full page of injuries suffered by the child.  Jaevion is intubated, has burns over 15 to 20 percent of his body and is not responding to pain in all four extremities.

Riley told the Boston television station that Mohammad was awarded joint custody of Jaevion a few months ago and that she had requested the state Division of Children, Youth and Families to conduct wellness checks on her child after seeing bruising on him.  She told the television station that nothing was done.

The child was found unconscious and not breathing on Jan. 17, 2023, in the apartment after Mohammad called 911 at 10:27 a.m. to report his son had been burned.

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Mohammad, when speaking with investigators, initially said he was in the shower when his son, who was playing Oculus (a virtual reality video game headset) was burned by water boiling on the stove.  Mohammad said he had planned on making oatmeal that morning.

Officer Rachel Gross, however, noted there was no oatmeal, soup or other foods out and near the stove, and that the child’s Oculus was found on a shelf in his bedroom, tucked away with the cords wrapped around it.  Mohammad also was fully clothed, his hair wasn’t wet and there were no towels around or other signs that someone had just taken a shower.

The child’s pajama pants also were not wet when he was being treated.

Ultimately, Mohammad told police that he told his son to get into the shower and because Jaevion, who is only identified by his initials, “J.R.” in the court documents, is afraid of him, he did.  Asked if he thought a child would get into a shower and remain there with water that caused extensive burning, Mohammad told the officers he was sure J.R. would due to his fear of him.

On Jan. 18, 2023, Mohammad was interviewed again at the police station.  At that time, police said he gave numerous explanations for his son’s injuries.

He said he had an issue with his son lying to him recently and he used discipline to try and correct that.  The punishment started with spanking, and when that didn’t work, moved on to striking the child with the cord from his hoverboard.  A few days before the child was found unconscious, Mohammad said he began disciplining him with hot water.  Initially, he told detectives he kept Jaevion out of school because of his visible injuries but later recanted, saying his son had the flu and that he had been vomiting in the morning,

He said he put Jaevion into the shower and told him to “take it like a man,” and then left, closing the door behind him, according to the affidavit of Detective Scott Riley.  Jaevion suffered a skull fracture to the back of his head and, when asked how that happened, Mohammad said he may have fallen and hit his head in the shower but later told detectives his son fell in his bedroom and hit his head on a speaker.

He also said he made up the story of Jaevion being burned by the pot of boiling water.  He admitted to placing the pot in the kitchen to make it look like an accident.

Mohammad, according to the court document, also admitted to striking Jaevion in the face.  He said he did not hit him with “full force” but used a lot. Jaevion had bruising on his lips, a missing front tooth and a torn frenulum.

Investigators viewed video footage from the building’s cameras which, they said, recorded Mohammad leaving the apartment prior to calling 911. He returned a short time later with a white bag which, he told detectives, contained medical supplies to treat his son’s burns. He said he had left his son alone a handful of times over the last week.

Detectives tested the temperature of the water from the tub’s spout recording a high of 153.8 F.

On Jan. 18, 2023, Riley said he received an anonymous tip that Mohammad was loading his vehicle with numerous items causing him to believe Mohammad may leave the area due to the investigation.  Jaevion’s mother had previously posted a picture on Facebook of her son in the ICU with a comment identifying Mohammad as being wanted and on the run,  Mohammad was subsequently arrested.



About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.