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What Happened to Baby James? Complete Story

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One of the people of interest in the death of a six-month-old baby whose family asked to be identified only as James has testified at a coronial inquest.

Warning: This page includes references to the deaths of people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

On the evening of February 1, 2013, when visiting James’s grandmother in southern Cairns, numerous family members noticed the kid was having trouble breathing.

James was pronounced dead at Cairns Hospital after being found limp and unresponsive a few hours later. He had blue lips.

The infant had suffered many, severe fractures to the skull, which ultimately proved fatal.

Experts testified that the victim’s injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma; they were not accidental; and the violence must have occurred within minutes or hours of his discovery, as relayed by Counsel Assisting the Coroner Molly Mahlouzarides.

Older injuries incurred at least a week before his death were also uncovered during the autopsy.

What Happened to Baby James?

“Many Disappointments”

The court has heard testimony from James’s grandmother, Germaine Lenoy, and his aunts over the past two days.

Ms. Lenoy testified that her daughter, James’s mother Synoa Tabuai, was first thrilled by the prospect of becoming a mother, but that she later began to have reservations.

She claimed, “She had a lot of frustrations.”

Ms. Lenoy told the court she had pondered adopting James into her care and had sent her other children to Ms. Tabuai’s house to check on the young family.

“When I saw Synoa and baby James together you could see the bond was there,” she said.

Ms. Lenoy and her daughters testified that they did not understand the coroner’s conclusion that someone in the house had to have delivered the baby on the night in question due to the severity of the baby’s injuries.

Also testifying were Ms. Tabuai’s sister, Danielle Tabuai, and her husband, Ehammed Anderson.

Detective Sergeant Wallwork testified that both Mr. Anderson and James’s mother were persons of interest.

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Mr. Anderson testified under Ms. Mahlouzarides’s questioning that James’s mother was “in a terrible mood” and frequently left James in the care of others while she went out drinking.

Anderson noted that he, too, had noticed James’s decline in the weeks before his death.

“Every time we saw him he was always drained,” he said.

The multiple times he witnessed an angry Synoa treat James roughly were also detailed.
Mr. Anderson told the court that he and another child were watching TV in the room where James was sleeping on the evening of February 1.

He and a few others, he said, took note of James’s laboured breathing at some point in the evening, but when they asked Synoa about it, she assured them that it was normal.

Mr. Anderson claims he dozed off and upon waking found James unconscious with bluish lips.

What Happened to Baby James?

The rest of the family, he said, was notified, and Synoa raced in to pick up James while yelling that he was not breathing.

Mr. Anderson stated that he picked up the youngster and began performing CPR while an ambulance was summoned.

Baby James Chairez’s mother pleads no contest.

On Thursday, a San Antonio mother who had been charged in her baby’s death pleaded no contest.

Twenty-month-old James Chairez went missing from the mobile home he shared with his mother. His body was discovered there a few days later. D’Lanny Chairez entered a no contest plea to one count of tampering with evidence.

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During the month of February 2021, police in San Antonio began their hunt for the missing mother and child. On January 4, that year, D’Lanny was seen pushing a stroller with James, who had been seen alive on surveillance tape.

In March, authorities tracked down and detained the woman, who allegedly told them she planned to place the child for adoption because she felt she wasn’t ready to be a parent. Since then, she reportedly hasn’t said anything to authorities regarding his location.

After an investigation, authorities discovered human remains in the mobile home the family had been living in throughout April of 2021. The identity of the deceased was finally established as Baby James in May. Authorities performed an autopsy, but it’s still not known if any additional charges will be brought.

Mariesol Gomez, Chairez’s aunt, has been a public figure throughout the proceedings. She hopes her niece will face criminal charges for her role in Baby James’ death.

What Happened to Baby James?

She explained that she felt compelled to see the matter through because she felt it was vital to do so for James. “I intend to seek redress on his behalf. If being here constantly means I will cry every time, if it means I will be dissatisfied, bothered, and upset by it, then I will sit through it.”

On August 8, Chairez will have a hearing to determine his sentence.

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Inquiries via telephone

After James’s death, Mr. Anderson was questioned regarding a phone call he had made to a detective in which he claimed to have witnessed James’s mother, Synoa, almost drop him.

As for dropping the infant on the table while administering CPR, he initially told the investigator that it was possible, but later said he remembered placing the child on the table gently.

Ms. Mahlouzarides expressed doubt about these procedures.

“Were you trying to get in early and give innocent explanations for injuries that the autopsy would uncover?” she said.

Mr. Anderson responded, “No.”

Mr. Anderson said, “Oh, rightio,” in response to Ms. Mahlouzarides’ assertion that the injuries needed significant force and must have been inflicted on the night Mr. Anderson shared a room with James.

Coroner Nerida Wilson paused Mr. Anderson’s questioning to show him some photos from James’ autopsy.

There are fractures in his skull, she stated.

“That happened in the house that you were staying at that night, sir, and you were in the room with the child.”

Mr. Anderson admitted that, because it had been so long, he was having trouble recalling the night.

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“I have some issue with that, sir,” Ms. Wilson said in response to the man’s claim that he couldn’t recall anything that could have helped her determine who or what had caused his wounds.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), Synoa Tabuai will testify at the inquest.

Frequently Asked Questions…

Is There Any Book Available Based on Baby James?

Yes, A book named “What Ever Happened to Baby James?”  is available in the market.

Who Happened to Baby James?

Twenty-month-old James Chairez went missing from the mobile home he shared with his mother. His body was discovered there a few days later. D’Lanny Chairez entered a no contest plea to one count of tampering with evidence.

Conclusion

The inquest into the death of a six-month-old baby in Cairns has heard testimony from several people of interest. The infant suffered many, severe fractures to the skull, which ultimately proved fatal. His injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma; they were not accidental. Twenty-month-old James Chairez went missing from the mobile home he shared with his mother. His body was discovered there a few days later.

Mother D’Lanny Chairez entered a no contest plea to one count of tampering with evidence on Thursday. Twenty-month-old James Chairez went missing from the mobile home he shared with his mother. His body was discovered there a few days later. A book named “What Ever Happened to Baby James?”  is available in the market. Coroner: “I intend to seek redress on his behalf”.

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