A Belgian woman is suspected of having unintentionally killed her 2-year-old son, the Antwerp public prosecutor's office announced on Monday.
The boy passed away last week following dehydration and starvation. He lived with his 22-year-old mother in Mechelen, between Antwerp and Brussels.
His body was found last Thursday in a room that was too warm, according to emergency services. The mother had spent some time elsewhere in the apartment and found it suspicious that the boy had remained quiet for so long.
After checking on him and seeing that the child was unconscious, she called emergency services, but they were unable to revive the boy. The mother was then arrested.
“Due to the highly problematic circumstances in which we determined the boy’s death, an investigative judge was called in right away,” the prosecutor’s office stated.
A first medical examination showed that the child had starved to death. The toddler had also been dehydrated for some time. No other signs of abuse were found.
Medical professionals told HLN that children under the age of three are more susceptible to overheating than adults.
“That is because their heat regulation system is still immature. Once the child can no longer get rid of its warmth, their temperature will keep rising and there will be a chance of overheating or dehydration.”
The mother has now been charged with death by negligence. The prosecutor’s office has extended its investigation to include possible charges of depriving a minor of food and care until death.
The accused denies all charges. On Tuesday, she will face the pre-trial chamber, which will determine whether she will remain in pre-trial custody.
The Brussels Times