Two siblings of the 3-year-old Hollywood boy who was reported missing and later found dead will remain in the care of relative, a Broward judge decided Monday afternoon.
Ahizya Osceola’s father, Nelson Osceola, attended the hearing but his wife, Analiz Osceola, did not attend because she has been in the psychiatric unit of a local hospital since Friday, said Cindy Bruschi, an attorney with the Office of the Attorney General.
Ahizya was reported missing on Thursday morning from his Hollywood home. Hollywood Police, working with the Seminole Police and other law enforcement agencies, launched an exhaustive search by air and ground. On Friday morning Hollywood police chief Frank Fernandez announced the boy’s body had been found in an obscure location in the house. He didn’t elaborate, but said the boy’s 45-pound frame was contorted in such a way it would have been impossible for the child to position himself.
Fernandez said Sunday detectives were interviewing family members and the case was being investigated as a homicide.
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At Monday's hearing, Nelson Osceola sat silent next to his attorney, Hilliard Midlof, as Judge Hope Tieman Bristol placed his 5-year-old stepson and 8-month old daughter in the care of his sister, a Seminole Tribe member.
Bruschi said Osceola could not visit his children until a forensic investigation was completed on the siblings, which was expected to take place Thursday.
After the hearing, Osceola referred questions to his attorney, only saying, “I just buried my son.’’
Midlof, speaking about the case, said, “The state has taken two children from both parents and put them with the relative. At this point, due to the nature of the injuries and the allegations, the court found probable cause by stipulation of the parties that there was something that happened to the child that's obviously very serious. In that regard an investigation is going to get completed and we will find out what the facts are."
Meanwhile, Modlof said he felt for his client: “When your 3-year-old son is dead and they're accusing you and or your loved ones with abuse, he's distraught, rightfully so.’’
The state’s Department of Children & Families has had four reports related to Ahizya since 2013. A January 2014 agency report shows that Ahizya and his siblings were removed from the custody of his mother, Karen Cypress, after Ahizya was found wandering in a hotel lobby “while the mother was under the influence in her room.”
A report in April 2014 looking into possible physical injury to Ahizya and naming his father the likely perpetrator was closed as “not substantiated.” Then in February, DCF was again alerted to the family about possible physical injury to Ahizya.
“The alleged perpetrator was unknown, however it was suspected the abuse was occurring at the father’s residence,” the report said.