Murder suspect, 13, ordered held in death of 5-year-old neighbor

Posted Friday, Jun. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A 13-year-old boy was ordered by a judge Friday morning to be held in custody after his arrest in connection with the fatal beating of a 5-year-old neighbor who disappeared while riding his bicycle near his southeast Fort Worth apartment complex.

The teen, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, is accused of hitting Sida Osman repeatedly in the head with an undisclosed object.

In a statement, police said that the teen and Sida went into the fenced backyard of a vacant house at 4801 Lois St., where the teen became irritated with the boy “and hit him multiple times in the head, causing his death.”

Sida’s body was found Wednesday, about 18 hours after he was last seen.

News of the 13-year-old’s arrest was not surprising to Rick Stokes, founder of the Stokes Christian Boys Home in east Fort Worth, in which the teen had been involved for several years.

“This had been building up for years and years,” Stokes said.

Stokes said the suspect’s life has not been an easy one. While a baby, the boy’s father was sentenced to prison for several years. Upon his release, the father reunited with the family but later left the boy’s mother for another woman, leaving the boy feeling abandoned, Stokes said.

“He’s got a lot of rage and anger in him,” Stokes said. “Being a little kid, he didn’t know how to handle it.”

Stokes said the teen began acting out — running away, getting into fights, stealing items like bicycles, and, on occasion, threatening to kill others. He’d been in and out of juvenile detention and was currently on probation, Stokes said.

But despite his continued behavior and the mother’s claims that she was reporting his problems to authorities, Stokes said a monitor was never placed on the boy, nor was he returned to a juvenile correctional facility.

Stokes said the mother tried to help her son, even getting him placed on medication in attempt to control his anger but it didn’t seem to help.

“She was doing all she could. He had actually gotten to the point where he was physically abusing her,” Stokes said.

Most recently, Stokes said, the mother sent the boy to live with an older brother “to try to keep him disciplined and be a father to him.”

Stokes said he is not sure if the boy had returned to live with his mother or was just visiting when Sida went missing Tuesday evening. He said the teen’s mother had texted about the missing child.

“She said a kid is missing at our apartments,” Stokes said. “Would you pray that they find the kid?”

At the complex Thursday evening, the victim’s mother, Dahabo Abdi, sat with other women and children who came to offer support.

She said she did not know much about the police investigation or the arrest of the suspect, but she did say her son’s funeral would be Friday.

“He was a good boy and a nice boy,” she said, holding another child in her lap. “I don’t know what he did for him to be killed. All of the people loved him.

“With him, I had six children, but now it is five.”

‘I knew he was bad’

Stokes’ description of the suspect was repeated by numerous teens and other boys at the apartment complex where Sida lived with his family. They described the suspect as a bully.

Mohamed Ali Mberwa, 15, a native of Kenya, said he was acquainted with the suspect, but he was careful to keep him at a distance.

“He was just a person I would chill with, hang with,” Mberwa said.

But, he added, the suspect had a mean streak, and he liked to steal, particularly cell phones.

“He’d think it was fun,” Mberwa said. “And the night that the boy was missing, he was acting like nothing was happening.

“I knew he was bad, but I never knew he would do a thing such as this.”

Peace, justice, innocence

Sida was last seen playing outside the Webber Garden apartment complex Tuesday when his mother called for him about 6:30 p.m. and he took off on his bike, relatives said.

The family searched fruitlessly for the boy before calling police shortly after 10 p.m. to report the child missing. Police searched for him on foot and by horse and helicopter Tuesday night and Wednesday.

About 1 p.m. Wednesday, a woman delivering meals for a free-lunch program discovered his body in the fenced-in back yard of a vacant house about a block north of the complex.

An autopsy conducted Thursday determined that Sida died from blunt-force head injuries.

The discovery had prompted residents on Wednesday to quickly gather in protest, shouting “Peace and justice!” and holding signs reading “He was innocent.”

The apartment complex is home to several Somali families, many of whom had spent time in refugee camps in Kenya after fleeing unrest in their native country.

Though Sida’s parents were Somali refugees, the boy was born in the United States. He was to begin kindergarten at nearby Pate Elementary School in the fall.

Mberwa said Sida was famous for riding his bicycle through the apartment complex. But before his family gave him the bike, he’d borrow Mberwa’s, frequently without asking.

“He was a smart one,” Mberwa said. “But every time he’d do something wrong — like when he’d take my bike — he’d turn back and smile.

“I miss his smile.”

Young suspects rare

Sida’s death constitutes a capital murder offense because the child was under six years of age. Because the suspect is under 14, however, he is not eligible to be certified to stand trial as an adult in the case.

The teen is not the youngest murder suspect in Tarrant County history.

In 2007, an 8-year-old North Richland Hills boy was accused of killing his 9-month-old sister by dropping her down a flight of stairs. He was not arrested because of his age; Child Protective Services worked with his parents to obtain treatment.

In 1993, a 10-year-old Fort Worth boy was charged with drowning a 9-year-old while swimming in a creek. The boy was sent to a psychiatric hospital after it was discovered that he was emotionally disturbed as the result of long-term sexual abuse.

Researcher Cathy Belcher contributed to this report.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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