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Crime & Courts

Toddler's death in Va. prompts closer review of 2 other deaths connected to father

A toddler's death during a visit with his father in Virginia is prompting police to also more closely investigate the suicide of the man's mother and the shooting death of a onetime girlfriend in the past decade.

Fifteen-month-old Prince McLeod Rams died during a three-hour, unsupervised visit with his father, Joaquin S. Rams of Manassas. Manassas Police spokesman Lowell Nevill says that led police to further probe the 2008 suicide of Joaquin Rams' mother and the 2003 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend Shawn K. Mason.

The boy's mother, Hera McLeod, says the system failed to protect the boy after she fought vehemently to prevent the visits. She says the unusual confluence of deaths is not easily explained.

Joaquin Rams did not answer calls to his cellphone. His attorney also did not return calls seeking comment.

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