CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A 2-year-old boy found floating in a North Carolina pond drowned, autopsy results showed, and investigators think foul play might have been involved.
Two passersby found Jonathan Suero floating in the pond at Park Road Park with no one nearby and approached an off-duty officer. At about the same time, Natalia Suero, 29, the boy’s mother, also approached the officer. She told investigators that she had gone into the water to find Jonathan and then left to go seek help.
The Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Suero died due to drowning in a pond due to undetermined causes. According to the autopsy report, he had healing abrasions on his forehead and left foot, as well as fluid in his lungs.
Investigators think Natalia Suero did not try to get help before two people found her son in the water. She reportedly left the scene prior to EMS arriving and was later found at her apartment.
Reports show that Jonathan Suero was possibly in the water for at least 30 minutes. The temperature of the pond was about 56 degrees, and his body temperature when he was examined at a local hospital was about 82 degrees.
Warming procedures were initiated during transport to the hospital, but authorities said mild rigor mortis had already begun to set in on the child’s jaw before he was pronounced dead.
In a search warrant, detectives said Natalia Suero gave ‘vague and inconsistent statements’ about what happened. She told officers she ‘blacked out’ and was unable to give them a timeline.
During an interview with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, Natalia Suero said she left her phone at her apartment. Detectives said they analyzed Suero’s phone data and found the location services were off, but the phone was on at the time of the incident.
An aquatics expert was brought in and advised Suero’s story was not supported by science, specifically that the victim was floating and face up, the warrant indicated.
Investigators think there was neglect in the boy’s safety, and that the death might have been intentional. The manner of death remains undetermined at this time.