HONOLULU (KHON2) — The foster mother of a three-year-old Big Island boy was acquitted of his murder at a non-jury trial on Thursday, Nov. 4.
Officials said Chasity Alcosiba-McKenzie was arrested in August 2018 for alleged second-degree murder after the death of Fabian Garrett-Garcia. The boy died on July 25, 2017 while he was under the care of his foster mother. Two of his siblings were also under Alcosiba-McKenzie’s care at the time.
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She was then released without charges until she was indicted in October 2019.
During her non-jury trial on Thursday, Alcosiba-McKenzie told officers that Fabian apparently fell off of a short bench while wearing virtual reality goggles. She also said this happened around noon on the day he died.
Alcosiba-McKenzie continued and said that he got up, finished his lunch and took a nap. A few hours later, when she went to check on the boy, he vomited. Alcosiba-McKenzie then checked on him again shortly after 7 p.m. the same day and found Fabian was unresponsive.
According to a forensic pathologist and the Honolulu Medical Examiner said Fabian had several bruises in different stages. They also determined that the boy died due to blunt force trauma to the head that would not have been caused by falling a short distance.
A Child Welfare Services supervisor testified that she met the three-year-old in 2015 or 2016 and noticed he was “kind of feral,” an active child and non-verbal.
Another outreach worker testified and said she visited the family once a week and noted that there were no signs or concerns of abuse as Alcosiba-McKenzie was always well-prepared. When the outreach worker asked about the bruises, Alcosiba-McKenzie had videos to prove that the boys would fight all the time. This outreach worker also saw Fabian the day before he died and did not find anything unusual.
A judge determined that the state could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Alcosiba-McKenzie caused Fabian’s fatal injuries. The state was also unable to prove the exact time he fell and if immediate medical attention would have saved Fabian’s life.
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Fabian was taken away from his biological parents due to his father’s drug use, officials stated. KHON2 spoke to his biological mother a month after his death and after the boy was laid to rest in California. Fabian’s biological mother told KHON2 that she would focus on more pleasant memories to help deal with the loss.