SAN ANTONIO – Note: Watch the family’s news conference in the player above.
Mariesol Benavidez-Gomez, the great-aunt of baby James Chairez, thought she would have closure when officials could confirm they found him.
A few weeks after human remains were found in April inside a West Side mobile home, Benavidez-Gomez got a call from a San Antonio police detective on Wednesday, confirming that the remains were identified as James.
“I figured once they told me ... maybe I can sleep a little bit more,” she told reporters outside her home. “But now I’m left with, what happened to him? Did he suffer? Was he cold? I go back through all these pictures and I’m trying to figure out what happened, what could have gone wrong.”
Benavidez-Gomez is left with the pain of not knowing, she said.
“I’m so broken, and I hate it,” she said. “I hate the feeling that I’m feeling right now.”
The results of the full autopsy may not come until July, however. The autopsy will help answer how the baby died and when.
James’ mother, D’Lanny Chairez, is currently charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the investigation.
D’Lanny Chairez is family, Benavidez-Gomez said, and she cannot bring herself to hate her. But she desperately wants to know what happened to baby James.
“Please, just tell us what happened to him,” Benavidez-Gomez said. “Just don’t make us live this through court. Don’t make me see what happened to him in court ... Just be honest and tell us and accept whatever consequences are coming to you.”
Most of all, Benavidez-Gomez wants to know why baby James died.
“He was a good baby. He was a happy baby and I don’t understand, I (will) never understand, how (D’Lanny Chairez) could do that,” Benavidez-Gomez said.
Prosecutors have not yet indicated whether they will upgrade charges against D’Lanny Chairez, though police confirmed the investigation is ongoing.
Until then, the family will try to take next step in healing by holding a memorial ceremony for baby James.
“I know that James feels that love. He may not be here with us physically, but I know that he’s still here with me,” Benavidez-Gomez said.
James, who first reported missing on Jan. 4, was found in the trailer where he lived with his mom in the 7600 block of West Military Drive. Police had searched the home multiple times, but did not find the remains until a subsequent search on April 28.
Watch the latest coverage from the 5 O’clock News in the player below: