Doctors in Indianapolis, Indiana have declared 17-month old Major Maxie brain dead after the boy’s family said he was found slumped over and not breathing in his car seat after a state approved caregiver brought him to see his father.
The family now believes the caregiver improperly strapped him into his car seat, leading to asphyxiation. “The doctor stated he was without oxygen to the brain for 30 minutes,” the boy’s grandmother Jackie Smith told FOX59 in Indianapolis.
It had already been a rough life for Major Maxie. He had twice been placed in different foster homes, but was recently returned to his mother’s custody and was allowed supervised visitations with his father. Despite these hardships, his grandmother described him as "an awesome little guy, always happy, put joy in everybody's heart."
Last Wednesday, a counselor from Lifeline Youth and Family Services picked Major up at his mother’s home to take him to a scheduled visit with his dad. Lifeline Youth and Family Services is an Indiana not-for-profit company who works with Indiana Department of Child Services. After arriving at the father’s house, the caregiver allegedly told the boy's father that she had a surprise for him, but as he opened the car door discovered his son slumped over and not breathing. The father performed CPR on his son before he was rushed to Riley Hospital for Children.
Since arriving at the hospital, Major has not shown any signs of brain activity. His family is now contemplating what comes next and hoping his organs can be used for transplant. "My sister don't deserve this, he don't deserve this, my nephew don't deserve this," said Maxie's aunt Ashley Smallwood.
Lifeline Youth and Family Services told FOX59 it has launched an investigation into the incident and is cooperating with authorities. They also say the woman involved has been suspended without pay. Mark Terrell, CEO of Lifeline Youth and Family Services, said "First and foremost this is a tragedy, second is our prayers go out to that family and everybody involved." Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, meanwhile, say they have opened up a homicide investigation, as has Indiana's Department of Child Services.