September 1, 2014

Elyria
Mostly cloudy
78°F
test

Amherst boy taken off life support, dies of injuries

AMHERST — Jesse Crum Jr., the 3-year-old critically injured in his home last week, was taken off of life support Wednesday night and died.

Pictures and mementos of Jesse Crum Jr.

Pictures and mementos of Jesse Crum Jr.

A nursing supervisor at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland said that Jesse died at
10:28 p.m.

Jesse’s mother, Alyson Sweany, 22, said she and the boy’s father, Jesse Crum Sr., had agreed Wednesday to let Jesse die and plan to donate his organs.

She said doctors told them that Jesse would never open his eyes again or say “mommy” or “daddy.” He had been brought to MetroHealth on Friday with head injuries and bruises on his body.

“It was our decision to let him go and be at peace,” she said. “We don’t want him to suffer. The doctors assured us that he will feel no pain.”

Sweany said she said her goodbyes to her son earlier Wednesday, and that Jesse Crum Sr. and his family were with him at the hospital Wednesday night.

Sweany’s mother, Carol Reinhard, said that Jesse had told her last week that he had tried to climb a bookcase to get some stickers he wanted and that the bookcase tipped forward. She said he was hit with some falling textbooks and a laptop computer.

“He was always rambunctious,” Sweany said and showed handprints and footprints of Jesse she said the hospital staff made for her. “He’d always have a bump or bruise somewhere. But he didn’t cry. He was a tough kid and would say, ‘I’m OK, Mommy. I don’t hurt.’ If I could go back, I’d have taken him to the doctor every single time he got a bruise.”

She said they went to a duck pond the day after the incident, and that he was fine. She said he chased geese and sang his “ABCs.”

“I had no idea,” she said, breaking into tears. “If I’d been better educated about internal bleeding, how there can be no signs … If I thought for one second he was not OK, he would’ve been at the doctor’s.”

Charges have not been filed against Sweany or Peter Jones, Sweany’s boyfriend.

The case remains under investigation, the Amherst Police Department said Wednesday.

Jones’ parents, Dallas and Therese Jones, were charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after police investigating Jesse’s injuries discovered marijuana plants when they came to the house where they, Sweany, Pete Jones, Jesse and Isaac, Sweany’s 8-month-old son with Pete Jones, live.

Isaac is currently in foster care. Sweany said she and Jones visited him Tuesday and that he appeared to be happy, clean and well cared for.

Reinhard said she and Sweany had to leave the hospital with a police escort because Jesse Crum Sr. and his family blame Sweany for Jesse’s injuries.

Sweany insists that neither she nor Jones, 22, had anything to do with Jesse’s injuries. Sweany’s attorney, John Chambers, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Jesse had been hospitalized in January 2009 after Jones placed him in scalding bathwater. Jones’ attorney, Donald Tittle, said it was an accident. Jones is awaiting sentencing on two counts of child endangering from that incident. Sweany worked with Lorain County Children Services after the agency deemed Jesse was neglected because a lack of supervision. According to the agency, Sweany complied with all recommendations and received positive assessments, and the case was closed in August.

Sweany said she does not know how to go on.

“I feel like the sky has fallen in on me,” she said. “But I know God has a plan and that Jesse is up there waiting for me.

“The people saying the horrible things don’t know me and they didn’t know Jesse. Everyone wants someone to blame. But I loved my son and spent the most amazing three years of my life with him. They can say all they want, but they can never take that from me. He was the love of my life.”
The public vitriol has been cruel, Reinhard said.

There will be two memorials for Jesse, Reinhard said, so that the families don’t have to interact.

Contact Melissa Hebert at 329-7129 or mhebert@chroniclet.com.