NEW JERSEY — The grieving father of 4-year-old Myls Dobson said he thought he'd left his son in safe hands before he went to jail last month on racketeering charges, and he still can't believe his young boy was starved and beaten before dying while he was away.
"I felt he was in reasonable care," Okee Wade, Myls' father, said outside Atlantic County Jail on Thursday night, in his first public comments since his son's death Jan. 8.
"I just don't understand why anybody would kill a 4-year-old boy," Wade said. "He was a very sweet and intelligent boy."
Wade, 37, who was released from jail by a judge on Thursday so he can attend his son's funeral next week, denied that his son's alleged torturer, Kryzie King, was his girlfriend, as has been reported. Wade initially said he didn't recognize King from her photo.
He said he'd left Myls with a friend who lived in Midtown, who he identified as Jay Monroe.
In an hourlong conversation with reporters Thursday evening, in which he repeatedly changed his account of events and occasionally cracked jokes, Wade ultimately conceded that King and Monroe could be the same person.
Wade said Monroe lived in a luxury high-rise on West 48th Street; King lived in The Ritz Plaza at 235 W. 48th St., where Myls died in her care, police said.
Wade said he'd never intended Myls to stay with Monroe for long. He needed someone to watch his son on Dec. 18 while he worked and went Christmas shopping, and when his girlfriend and close friends were unable to watch the child, he called Monroe, he said.
He had known Monroe for about a year, after meeting her at a party. He said she had a good job and lived in a nice building, so he didn't fear for his son's safety.
"I see a doorman downstairs, I'm not going to expect somebody's going to just do some craziness to my son," he said.
He kept in constant contact with Myls over the phone on Dec. 18, and the boy said he was having fun, Wade said. He expected to pick him up on Dec. 19, but instead he got arrested.
"I was thinking I'm going to see my son and now I can't see my son," he said. "This is like the hardest thing you can ever go through for a parent... I wouldn't wish this on anybody."
After he was arrested, Wade said he tried to call Monroe to tell her to bring Myls back to his home in Bed-Stuy so Wade's girlfriend could care for him. Wade said he called another friend when he couldn't reach Monroe, but that fell through also, and Myls remained in the West 48th Street apartment until his death.
Wade said he still did not know the full details of what his son had suffered, but police had told him in jail that his son had died.
Myls was starved, beaten and burned by King, before he died in her apartment on Jan. 8, weighing 25 pounds less than he had when he arrived, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. One day before Myls' death, King locked the child outside on her balcony in frigid 9-degree weather wearing nothing more than a T-shirt and underwear, prosecutors said.
On Thursday, after Wade pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, Judge Michael Donio released him to allow him to attend his son's funeral.
"I'm letting you out to go give your son a proper burial," Donio said.
Wade will be required to return to jail in 21 days to serve a five-year-minimum sentence. He pleaded guilty to being a middleman in an Atlantic City and New York-based fraud between March and April 2011, in which he helped take money out of JP Morgan personal accounts and wire it to casinos.
After leaving jail in New Jersey, he caught a bus back home to Brooklyn Thursday evening.
Rev. Al Sharpton is set to deliver the eulogy for the boy's funeral next Tuesday at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, where a viewing will be held first from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Wade, who has been in and out of jail for more than a decade, got custody of Myls in 2011 after an Administration for Children's Services worker accused Myls' mother, Ashlee Dobson, of child neglect.
King was charged with assault and reckless endangerment last week. A grand jury indicted King on Wednesday, and those charges are expected to be unsealed during her next scheduled court appearance on Feb. 5.
Wade said he did not want revenge on his son's alleged torturer, but he hoped justice would be served.
"I just want justice for my kid," he said.