2-year-old boy dies in Linden foster care home

March 5, 2010 2:38:28 PM PST
A New Jersey mother is searching for answers after her 2-year-old son died in his foster home.Vanessa Gentleman broke down, just minutes after standing over her baby boy's tiny casket.

2-year-old Xavier, died one week ago, from injuries sustained inside his Linden, NJ foster home.

Questions are lingering by investigators wanting to know if it was an accident or something far more sinister.

"What I saw yesterday, my baby boy didn't fall down no stairs, somebody did that to him," said Vanessa Gentleman, Xavier's mother.

Vanessa's children Unique and Xavier were both in the custody of a friend of hers.

Back in 2003, Vanessa spent some time in jail for a sexual assault, having nothing to do with her own children.

She wound up trusting a friend with her children, but soon began to notice cuts and bruises on Xavier's face.

She took pictures of a split lip, a black eye, and a gash on his forehead, with older scars visible.

She called the Department of Youth and Family Services.

She says she called in November, December, January, February, and even the week before Xavier died.

Gentleman says a case worker went to the Linden house.

"Her exact word were, 'Oh, I seen your other kids, but I didn't see Xavier.' I said well did you request him, because I know by law you are supposed to, and she said 'no, I told her I would come back next week.' Well a week later, my son was dead," said Gentleman.

No one answered the door when Eyewitness News visited the Linden home where Xavier died.

All the prosecutor's office can say at this point is that there is an investigation, and they are waiting for the medical examiner's final report.

"Starting Monday, I'm sitting my behind in front of the DYFS office in East Orange, New Jersey, until I get justice for my son and until I get my children back safe in my custody with my family," said Gentleman.