Neallie Junior Saxon III was just 22 months old when he ran after a ball that rolled onto a Deerfield Beach street and was struck and killed by a car.
The woman who hit the boy allegedly did not realize that she had done so and continued driving. At the next stop sign, several people caught up with her, puller her out of the car, and viciously beat her.
The woman was traveling within the speed limit, police say. The assailants left her with a broken nose and eye socket. “They beat her unmercifully,”Anthony Clay, a witness, told WPLG.
Neallie was airlifted to a hospital on Sunday and pronounced dead. A medical examiner ruled the death accidental, citing multiple blunt force injuries.
Police did not charge the driver and did not identify her, saying that the attackers are still at large. No details were available on the attackers, including how many people were involved.
The attackers may have thought the woman was fleeing.
“She would have left,” Caroline Chery, the child’s grandmother said.“She had no intentions of stopping.”
The driver may not have noticed the toddler because she was distracted by the other children, police say.
According to a neighbor who witnessed the scene, people were hysterical, Neallie’s out passed out on the street.
“Can you imagine how you would feel knowing you killed somebody’s child and then to get beat up after that?” witness Jannette Martin said. “But you can understand the fact that the mother is hurting. As far as the beating and everything, I
think people were reacting and wanted to grab anyone they could. It was an emotional thing. It was very painful.”
When the police arrived, the driver told them “It’s me, it’s me,” while bleeding profusely.
The children often played outside without adults supervision, witnesses told investigators.
On Monday, a toy truck and a teddy bear marked the spot where Nellie was hit.
Chery, the toddler’s grandmother, asked for privacy as the family arranged for a funeral.
The child’s mother posted a photo of herself with Neallie on Facebook with a heartbroken message.
“Never would I thought I’ll be sending my baby boy to Heaven. Never thought that this would be last picture we took together,” she wrote. “I love you Neallie mommy really does.” (Photo credit: NDTV)