“I’m hurt. My body hurts. My heart hurts.”
Those were the words of Carolyn Sumpter, the grandmother of 4-year-old Jayden Morrison, the autistic Black boy who was found dead yesterday morning after wandering into a pond near the family’s home in South Carolina.
The family spoke to The Journal News amid their grief. For Sumpter, her pain was undoubtedly mixed with guilt, for she was in charge of watching the 4-year-old when he slipped out of the house on Christmas Eve when her back was turned.
The little boy was found two days after he was reported missing. A massive search involving police, first responders, K-9 units, dive teams and more than 150 volunteers was ongoing since he disappeared from the family’s vacation home in Little River, South Carolina, about 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve.
According to the Journal News, Jayden’s mother, Tabatha Morrison, had gone shopping and left her three children—including Jayden’s twin brother, Jordan, and a 3-year-old sister Kelsey—at the home with their grandmother. Sumpter, who lived with the family and regularly watched the kids, said she noticed the front door was ajar minutes after his mother left and the boy was missing.
Jayden’s father, Andre Morrison, talked to reporters after he arrived in South Carolina from New York. “We’ve always been in a gated situation,” he said. “We knew he was a wanderer when he was younger, but he was always in an enclosement. We never put him in a position to go out and freely wander.”
In the South Carolina subdivision near Myrtle Beach, there are numerous retention ponds and lakes.
Yesterday morning at about 10:45 a.m., the boy’s body was found floating in a pond about 100 yards from the family’s home.
“There were no signs of foul play,” said Horry County police Lt. Raul Denis.
The family hasn’t yet decided whether Jayden’s funeral will be held in South Carolina or Westchester County.