NEW YORK (1010 WINS/CBS 2) — A distraught Staten Island mother said she believes someone murdered her autistic son, who was a patient at a Staten Island psychiatric center.
Sharon Rowe was beside herself with grief when she learned that her 27-year-old son, Henry Jawara, had died Sunday.
The Medical Examiner’s office found evidence of a possible strangulation and ruled Jawara’s death a homicide, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
1010 WINS Reporter Mona Rivera talks with the man’s mother.
According to authorities, EMT arrived at the psychiatric center Sunday afternoon and found Jawara unconscious. He was taken to Staten Island University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigative sources said the staff at the psychiatric center was trying to subdue Jawara, when he went unconscious, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported.
Courtney Rowe, Jawara’s stepfather, said the family was told that staff members “were trying to restrain him.”
An autopsy showed evidence that he may have been strangled and his mother said she noticed bruises on him before, but he couldn’t tell her anything.
“He can’t talk, he’s non-verbal,” she said.
Rowe said her son acted more like a 4-year-old and that he had been at the center for a little over one year. Rowe is convinced someone killed him.
“He was murdered and I think, you know…I should have seen it coming,” she told Rivera.
“I put my son some place to protect him and they ended up strangling him. That’s all I know,” Sharon Rowe told Slattery.
Rowe said she noticed bruises on her son before, but he was unable to tell her anything.
“Like I noticed him coming home with [some] little bruises…a black eye then he got four stitches,” Rowe said.
The NYPD confirms that homicide detectives are looking into the death and the state, which runs the center, said an investigation was underway.
Because of the ongoing investigation, a spokesman for the Office For People With Developmental Disabilities had no comment.
“It’s sad to know we thought he’d get professional help and they killed him just like that,” Courtney Rowe said.