(Horn Lake, MS) There’s mystery surrounding the death of an 11-year-old boy in Horn Lake. The boy was found dead in his home Thursday on Valleybrook Cove. Police are still waiting for autopsy reports but the boy's family members believe his death was anything but natural.
The boy's birth mother says she got to see her son's body in the funeral home and that he was extremely skinny and looked abused.
The pictures that News Channel 3 has of Tyler Raines are from many years ago because his family members, who gave them to us, say they haven't been able to see him in years.
“His dad and his step-mother refused to let anybody in the family see him,” said Rebecca Gaines, the boy’s aunt.
Thursday, the 11-year-old was found dead in his Horn Lake home on Valleybrook Cove while in the care of his father and step-mother.
“We are waiting on medical examiner reports,” said DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion. “The postmortem exam was done yesterday.”
DeSoto County investigators say the boy had been home schooled for at least two years while the other children in the house went to school, a grave concern to the boy's aunt, in Chattanooga.
“In my opinion, they were obviously trying to keep anyone else from knowing what`s going on with the little boy,” said Gaines.
“I saw the little boy last Saturday for the first time since they moved here,” said Neighbor Mary Sullivan. “He looked skinny. He looked very skinny. I really thought that he was probably 7 or 8 years old. I was really surprised when I found out he was 11 years old.”
While boy's mothers says Tyler's father refused to let her see him for the last year and a half, she says she got to see him Saturday in the funeral home before he was cremated and what she saw made her believe something terrible happened. She says he was emaciated and looked severely abused.
For now, the district attorney, who could only talk to WREG on the phone, isn't saying much.
“This is one we are keeping close to the vest until we know exactly what happened,” said Champion.
Neighbors and family of the little boy are waiting for answers.
“It just breaks my heart that none of us did something sooner,” said Gaines.
The aunt is hoping someone will come forward who had seen the child or interacted with child in the weeks before he died. The DA”s office says it could take weeks for the autopsy report to come back or it may be available as soon as Monday.