On April 6, 2018, Mobile Police and Fire-Rescue arrived at the Sandpiper Townhomes to find 8-year-old LeBrawn Rankin unresponsive and not breathing. His older sister was giving him CPR, but as authorities examined the boy, they determined he had passed. Signs around the boy’s body pointed toward neglect as a key factor in the boy’s death. However, years after that day, police have yet to charge anyone for the boy’s death. The official cause of death includes malnutrition and dehydration, as well as his cerebral palsy condition.
Since this day, investigators and members of the community have yet to find answers to their many questions. How did this little boy lose his life? Was there anything that could have been done to save his life? Who is responsible for this tragedy?
We take a look at what happened to LeBrawn Rankin that fateful day and discuss what authorities are doing to find justice for this little boy.
How Did a Little Boy Lose His Life to Neglect?
At Augusta Evans, a public special education school, staff members began noticing that LeBrawn looked unwell. He had lost weight and had developed sores. This was enough for the school to contact the Alabama Department of Human Resources in February 2018. Staffers feared that the boy was being neglected, but the agency was slow to act.
According to reports, DHR visited LeBrawn in his home 11 days before his death. Investigators said they found no signs of neglect, and let the boy remain in the home. However, when officers arrived at the apartment in April, they reported drastically different conditions. The police found the boy’s body on a mattress with no sheets or box spring. There was a dirty diaper on the bed with the boy’s body, and the floor was covered in dirty clothes and food boxes. The room reportedly smelled of urine.
The boy was emaciated, had bones protruding and was wearing a dirty diaper. The 8-year-old weighed only 23 pounds when authorities found his body. Police secured the scene and treated the death as a homicide due to the conditions they saw.
Who Is Responsible for the Death of LeBrawn Rankin?
In an interview with NBC 15, Chief Lawrence Battiste acknowledged that sometimes the police arrive too late to help. However, given the alarms raised by LeBrawn’s teachers, should help have come sooner? Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich is continuing to investigate LeBrawn’s death as a criminal case, but her office is not the only authority seeking justice.
Here at Tommy James Law, we are also investigating this matter. We are a part of a civil lawsuit seeking answers and justice for LeBrawn. We will not rest until someone has answered for the negligence in this case.
“This innocent child is dead because the people at DHR did not do their jobs, and it is appalling this was allowed to happen…It is past time for DHR and its employees to be held accountable for not doing their jobs.” Attorney Tommy James told NBC 15 in regard to the filing of this civil case.