WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New details in the death of an eight-year-old special needs student at school yesterday. Police say an autopsy was performed on Jamiah Batts this morning.
The death of eight-year-old Jamiah hit very close to home for Sherrill Bowman.
“I’m very upset, because when we put our children on the bus, we feel like we’re putting them in their hands, and we want to feel comfortable,” Bowman said. “We want to know that they’re ok on the way to school.”
Bowman’s five-year-old son rides the same bus as Batts. He also has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.
“I remember getting him off the bus at times, and I would see her. She would be in the back seat with him. She has a chair exactly like him. She is just a little older and bigger than him,” Bowman said.
Bowman’s son was not on the bus when Jamiah stopped breathing. She knew something was wrong, though, when the bus did not pick him up until 10 a.m.
“I worried all day today, because I’m thinking, ‘God, that could have been my son,'” Bowman said.
The school district says there was no monitor on the bus Wednesday morning. A spokeswoman says the individual education plans for the students on the bus did not require a bus monitor.
Bowman says she wants to change that.
“Those children cannot speak for themselves at all,” Bowman said. “They can’t say, ‘Oh, I’m sick, I’ve got to throw up,’ or ‘I’m about to have a seizure.’ They need an adult to supervise them when they are on the bus.”
A Wilmington Police spokeswoman says preliminary autopsy results were inconclusive. Investigators are waiting on final results.
District Attorney Ben David says his office will consult with police to decide if this is a criminal matter.