Three days before a 7-year-old was killed in Oxon Hill, a D.C. Superior Court employe recommended that one of the two boys charged in that case be placed in a residential home, saying that his behavior was increasingly aggressive.
That recommendation, according to D.C. court and social services records, was the second this year by social service officials urging that the boy, a 12-year-old from Northeast Washington, be placed in a setting where his activities could be closely supervised and he could receive counseling. The boy's name is being withheld in this article because he is a minor.
Social services records indicate that the child has had behavioral problems since 1980. An April 4, 1985, notation on a court referral form about the child says, "His behavior is becoming so serious until he poses a threat to himself and the community."
This boy and a 12-year-old from Southeast were charged as juveniles in Prince George's County Juvenile Court Monday in the death Sunday of Carl Ellis Arthur, 7, of Livingston Road SE. The family of the boy from Southeast could not be reached, and little is known about his background.
The mother of the Northeast boy had sought psychological help for her son this year and at one point asked officials to take him out of her home, the records show.
She said Thursday that her son had been released "under my supervision." However, Prince George's Court officials said on Friday that the boys were still being held in two Maryland detention centers.
The recommendations for counseling were not court orders, and thus compliance was voluntary. It was unclear from the records why the child had not received the counseling.
According to U.S. Park Police, the two older boys met Carl Sunday morning in a playground in front of his home. They took Carl on a bike ride to the Oxon Hill Children's Farm.
Along the bike path bordering Oxon Cove, off the Potomac River, police said, the boys decided to take Carl's bicycle. At about noon, one of the boys hit in the head with a baseball bat, pushed him into the water and pelted him with rocks, according to police. Carl backed into deeper water, where he drowned.
According to the mother of the boy in Northeast, the boy told her about the drowning, and she called police. Police recovered the victim's body from the water.
Yesterday, the dead boy's mother, Diana Arthur, said that she last saw her son Saturday night. She said that when she awakened late on Easter morning, Carl, whose nicknames were "Eric" and "Meatball," had already gone out to play.
Arthur said that when darkness fell and the first-grader had not come home, she sent her older son out to look for him. "I decided not to worry. I didn't want to think the worst . . . . Sometimes he would go by some friends' house."
"Before we could call the police, they were here," said Arthur. At about 11 p.m., she said, Park Police detectives and one of the 12-year-olds went to a neighbor's home and were directed to her apartment.
Arthur said she does not know all the details of the death. "There are a lot of unanswered questions," she said. She said she did not know the names of the boys charged in her son's death, but "I think that he Carl knew them from playing in the area, because my boy would never go with strangers . . . . He must have thought they were friends."
The mother of the boy in Northeast said that she was devastated by the news that her son was charged in the case and that her son is "very upset." She said a doctor will evaluate her son to determine how much he understands about what has occurred. But, she said, "It's going to be okay," explaining that she believes the courts will arrange for her son to receive help. Under juvenile proceedings, the maximum penalty the boys can receive is to be placed in a detention center until age 21.
Then the mother asked a reporter if funeral arrangements had been made for Carl Arthur. "That poor boy. That poor, little boy," she said.