MANHATTAN — The death of a 6-year-old boy found unconscious and covered in bruises in his home last month has been ruled a homicide, the Medical Examiner's office announced Thursday.
Zymere Perkins was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital after being beaten unconscious by his mother's boyfriend on Sept. 26, police said.
His mother, Geraldine Perkins, 26, and her boyfriend Rysheim Smith, 42, were charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child on Oct. 3, a week after Zymere's death.
“I’m not a baby killer,” Perkins told DNAinfo New York in a jailhouse interview, adding that she had seen Smith spank the boy more than once.
Investigators believe Smith beat Zymere with a wooden broomstick the day of his death.
The initial autopsy in September showed that Zymere had been abused for months and had bruises on his torso, finger marks on his neck, several fractured ribs that had healed and a contusion to his head, according to the ME.
Zymere’s death prompted city Comptroller Scott Stringer to open an investigation into the Administration for Children’s Services after it was discovered that Perkins’ mother had been the subject of five child abuse allegations but was still allowed to have custody of her son.
The homicide ruling on Thursday confirmed that the cause of death was “acute and chronic abuse and neglect.”
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment on whether the charges against Perkins and Smith would be changed to reflect the ME’s ruling.
Zymere was remembered as a “playful, loving child” in an eulogy at his funeral earlier this month by Rev. Mark V.C. Taylor at the Church of the Open Door.
“You could tell he had joy in his life,” Taylor said at the funeral. “He had moments of peace.”