NEW YORK – A cab driver arrived home to find his 12-year-old son's body in a courtyard below their fifth-floor apartment, wrapped in blankets tied together like a rope.
Police said Jonathan Batista's injuries were consistent with a fall and that the death was not suspicious. The boy had learning disabilities.
Teodoro Batista, 42, had just finished an overnight shift driving a cab on Wednesday when he discovered that Jonathan was missing from the Manhattan apartment where they live with Jonathan's stepmother.
Jonathan's bedroom window was open, and the window's air conditioning unit was gone.
"I checked under the bed, and he wasn't there," the father told The New York Times for Thursday's editions.
He ran from the apartment, shouting for the boy in Spanish, a neighbor said.
He found Jonathan's body in the small courtyard below the boy's bedroom window. With him were the bed linens, which were tied together as if he had been making a rope to lower himself from his window.
The boy had his backpack and was wearing a jacket and sneakers.
Jonathan's stepmother, Maria Rosario, said she had told the boy to go to bed around midnight. He brushed his teeth and put on his pajamas, she said. She went to bed.
"If he wanted to go out, he could have walked out the front door," said Rosario, 41. "He never said he wanted to go outside."
Batista told the New York Post that he last saw his son before he left for work Tuesday evening, while the boy was folding clothes.
"I said, 'Son, don't stay up too late,'" the father said.