Child Killed At Day Care; Man Sought

By Jamie Stockwell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Fairfax County woman who operated a day-care center in her basement apartment left four children with her husband Tuesday morning to run an errand. When she returned 40 minutes later, police said, the husband had disappeared and 21-month-old Myles Simon was no longer breathing. The badly beaten boy was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, police said.

Yesterday, Fairfax County police issued an arrest warrant for the husband, Mohammad Ahmad, 24, charging him with murder. His whereabouts remained unknown last night, police said.

They declined to release the name of Ahmad's wife, but said the 21-year-old woman ran an unlicensed day-care center in her apartment on Silver Ridge Circle in the Kingstowne area. Along with Myles and his sister, Sydney, 4, the woman was caring for her 16-month-old daughter and another small child.

Myles, who had a shock of curly black hair and a wide toothless grin, was beaten about 11 a.m., according to police. An autopsy attributed his death to blunt force trauma to the head.

Standing outside the Simon family's townhouse in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, Diane Jenkins, 51, the boy's great-aunt, said his parents were too distraught to comment. "We're having a hard time understanding," she said.

"The most sad thing that's causing all the crying spells is that that man beat Myles in front of his sister," Jenkins said, fighting tears. "She told the police, 'Myles got a spanking.' "

No one answered the door yesterday at the day-care provider's residence. A man who later walked up to the tan brick townhouse said he knew nothing of the death that had occurred. In the back yard, a red plastic slide and a pink plastic bicycle were among several toys scattered on the patio.

Next door, a woman who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she was at home when the paramedics and police arrived Tuesday. She said she heard screams from the young couple's basement apartment.

The woman "was screaming, 'Hurry! Hurry!' " the neighbor said. About 25 minutes later, she said, a small boy was taken out on a stretcher and rushed to Inova HealthPlex at Franconia-Springfield.

"I can't deal with that, knowing it was a child," the neighbor said. "I just can't even imagine."

According to court records from Prince William, Fauquier and Fairfax counties, Ahmad has a history of arrests for violent offenses that date to 2001, including assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Myles's mother recently moved to the Alexandria section of Fairfax with her children while her husband remained in New York City until he could find a job in the area.

"She was very protective of her children," Jenkins said. "We just hope that the other children are safe, and we don't want the other parents to take their children there. Parents need to be careful."

On Monday, the mother marked a sobering anniversary. She was employed at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Jenkins said. On her way to work, she stopped at a Starbucks, missing the terrorist attack by minutes.

Staff researcher Karl Evanzz contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company