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Mom Arrested for Killing 4-Year-Old Son, NYPD Says

By  Trevor Kapp Aidan Gardiner and Ben Fractenberg | January 26, 2017 10:44am | Updated on January 26, 2017 1:13pm

 Zarah Coombs, 26, murdered her son, Zamair Coombs, in their Brownsville home, police said.
Zarah Coombs, 26, murdered her son, Zamair Coombs, in their Brownsville home, police said.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

BROWNSVILLE — A mother was arrested for murder Thursday morning after beating her 4-year-old son with a stick and then leaving him alone in a container full of water, NYPD officials said.

Zamair Coombs, was found dead in the family's Brownsville home on Riverdale Avenue, near Amboy Street, about 9 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

The mother, Zarah Coombs, 26, who family said was bathing her boy at the time of his death, was charged with murder, manslaughter, weapons possession and child abuse, according to the NYPD.

The boy's uncle, Michael Thomas, 53, saw emergency responders trying to revive the child.

"They put him on a gurney. They were pumping his chest. They inserted a breathing tube. Foam was coming out of his mouth. His eyes were closed. He was like a mannequin," the uncle said.

"His mom was freaking out, screaming, 'Save my baby! I don't want him to die!' It was very traumatic. It was just crushing to see a baby like that," said Thomas, a retired prison guard.

Zamair, who was one of four siblings, was pronounced dead at Brookdale Medical Center, officials said.

The medical examiner will determine his cause of death, officials said.

Police said Coombs had been beating the boy with a stick before putting him in a container full of water and leaving him unattended.

The mother told the uncle that Zamair, who he said liked watching television, died because of an accidental fall in the bathroom.

"She's saying she was bathing him and he slipped on some wet towels and hit his head on the toilet and hit his head on the floor," police said.

Relatives said Coombs should be punished for Zamair's death.

"Family or not, she deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent. People argue, they fight, but this is unacceptable, intolerable for you to kill a 4-year-old kid. A sister or not, she has to be held accountable," Thomas said.

He said from the outside, the children appeared to be well cared for.

"I never saw any physical abuse. I definitely would've reported it," Thomas said.

Coombs was arrested Thursday morning but was still awaiting arraignment that afternoon, records show.

Officials with the Administration for Children's Services are investigating Zamair's death, they said.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Zamair, and commend the New York City Police Department on quickly making an arrest in this case," said ACS spokesman Jose Bayona.

The Department of Investigation, which is reviewing how ACS handles its cases, has already requested the agency's records relating to Zamair, DOI officials said.

Coombs was previously arrested in June for petit larceny, an NYPD spokeswoman said.

Police visited the Brownsville home Tuesday for a dispute between Coombs and her boyfriend, Thomas said.

Neighbors said the couple frequently fought and that they heard screaming coming from the apartment on the Wednesday night.

"They had a lot of issues. It was regular. She'd be cursing, saying 'F--k you,'" said Ray Moore, 18, who lives upstairs.

Zamair's death comes on the heels of several similar cases.

Michael Guzman, 5, was found dead Sunday in Jamaica after officials with the Administration for Children's Services visited his home 13 times. Officials are still investigating his death.

Sherlin Camacho, who was 2 months old, girl was beaten to death in her Bronx home earlier in January. And Zymere Perkins, 6, was beaten to death by his mom's boyfriend in their Harlem home.