FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A 13-year-old North Texas boy faces a capital murder charge in the death of a 5-year-old boy who was hit in the head multiple times, authorities said.
The teen, whose name is being withheld because he is a juvenile, was arrested Thursday in the death of Sida Osman. Because he is younger than 14, the suspect is not eligible to stand trial as an adult, according to the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office. His case is in juvenile court.
After Sida's parents reported him missing Tuesday evening, officers started knocking on doors and kept searching overnight using police dogs and helicopters. The youngster's body was discovered the next afternoon, prompting residents to quickly gather, shouting, "Peace and justice!" and holding signs reading, "He was innocent."
Sida's body was found in the backyard of a vacant house about a block from the apartments where he lived. Several Somali families, many who had spent time in refugee camps in Kenya after fleeing unrest in their native country, live in the complex.
Although Sida's parents are Somali refugees, the boy was born in the United States. He was to begin kindergarten at a nearby elementary school in the fall, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The two boys had gone to the yard, and the teen was irritated with Sida, according to Fort Worth police.
The teen has "a lot of rage and anger in him," Rick Stokes, founder of the Stokes Christian Boys Home, told the newspaper. The teen had been involved with the home for several years and had been running away, getting into fights, stealing items such as bicycles, and sometimes threatening to kill others, Stokes said.
He said he did not know whether the teen had returned to live with his mother, who lives in the apartments, or was living with another relative and just visiting his mother when Sida went missing.
Sida's mother, Dahabo Abdi, told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT that she did not know the suspect.
As the family gathered outside the apartment Thursday, neighborhood children gave Sida's mother handwritten notes expressing affection for the child. Some read the notes aloud, including one that read, "You were just an innocent kid."
Muhammad Elmi, the child's uncle, told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KXAS that the family never expected such a tragic outcome.
"We expected to see him alive — you know, coming back to the house smiling, happy."