HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii state lawmaker is pressing military officials for a formal investigation into the unexplained death of a 16-month-old boy who died while under the care of his Marine father.
Rep. John Mizuno led a silent march outside the state Capitol with the boy’s mother.
The boy died May 20 while under the care of his father, 24-year-old former Marine Cpl. Christopher Bahm. The boy’s mother, Jerlee Bahm, says the father was in the process of being kicked out of the Marines when the boy died.
Jerlee Bahm told the newspaper the Marine was court-martialed and found guilty of abusing her. The Iraq and Afghanistan veteran also had traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mizuno said he wants an investigation because there’s not enough information and he thinks it’s a possible wrongful death case.
“Knowing those three factors, how could the military allow and support Cpl. Bahm taking Ernest away from Jerlee?” Mizuno said.
Honolulu police investigated the death, but the case stalled because the cause of death could not be determined with medical certainty.
Deputy Medical Examiner Masahiko Kobayashi labeled the death a “sudden unexplained death in childhood.”
Diann Olson, a Marine Corps Base Hawaii spokeswoman, said the service doesn’t tolerate criminal misconduct of any kind.
Jerlee Bahm said she and her husband had a stormy relationship, and he got custody of their son through a temporary restraining order.
She said she is not sure where her husband is now.
“I’m hoping to get answers,” she told the newspaper. “I’m hoping for the U.S. government to start the investigation.”