Crime & Courts

Death of 2-year-old at South Broadway motel still under investigation

A Wichita boy’s death is being investigated after his mother said she found him not breathing at a South Broadway motel.

Zayden Jaynesahkluah, a 2-year-old boy, died last Friday. The cause of death is unknown at this time, and no arrests have been made in the case.

Wichita police and the Kansas Department for Children and Families are waiting on autopsy results to determine whether his death was a homicide.

Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said that police are waiting on a toxicology test. Those results will be complete within the next week, said Van Williams, Director of Strategic Communications for Sedgwick County.

A toxicology test is used to determine if any drugs, poison or other substance might have contributed to a person’s death.

“The full autopsy report will be complete within the next two weeks,” Williams wrote in an email.

Kansas’ child welfare agency said it could not release information about its involvement with Zayden unless it finds he died from abuse or neglect.

“It will take several weeks before the agency receives the information necessary to make a finding,” said Mike Deines, DCF’s spokesman, in an email.

Deines would not comment on whether DCF had any open cases or involvement with Zayden or any of his six siblings before or at the time of the boy’s death. Under state law, DCF would have to release information about its involvement with Zayden if it finds he died from abuse or neglect.

“As with any case, DCF will do a thorough review of the incident to understand if any agency or contractor (St. Francis Ministries) policy or procedural issues need to be addressed,” he said.

“As an agency we must hold ourselves accountable.”

Zayden’s death was reported by his mother, who called for medical assistance from a South Broadway motel. That’s where she said she found him not breathing, according to a police report.

It’s unclear at what point police began investigating the case. Wichita police’s homicide unit was called the Friday he died to the Sunset Motel, on Broadway just north of Pawnee, according to the report.

Sedgwick County Emergency Communications denied the Wichita Eagle’s request for any 911 calls from the Sunset Motel the day of Zayden’s death after Wichita police objected.

Kansas’ child welfare system has come under increased scrutiny following several child deaths, some of which came after repeated reports of child abuse. In the Wichita area alone, at least eight children age 5 or younger have died in the past two years.