HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Two of the three suspects charged with abuse following the death of a three-year-old boy spoke out about their charges from Henrico County jail. Alexis Denise Raiford, 32, and Clarence Raiford, 35, of Oakleys Lane in Henrico, were charged with child abuse and neglect. William Cory Moore, 25, was also charged with the same violations. The suspects were arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
"I am not responsible for Zyon's death," Alexis Raiford said in a jailhouse interview Wednesday evening. "I loved Zyon like he was my own child, I promise you that."
Family members identify the three-year old boy who died as Zyon Thompson.
Alexis Raiford said Zyon stayed at her house often as she spent a lot of time with his mother.
"Me and her always just rolled around, had fun, did things like that," she said.
Days before the child's death Raiford said she got a call that Zyon had fallen. She also said sometime during that day the little boy had gotten into some crabs and some seasoning. Raiford said the next day she noticed something was not right and said her husband and son took the boy to the hospital on April 24. He died two days later.
Police have not yet released how the child died, nor the role the suspects played in the child’s death. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner listed Thompson’s cause and manner of death as “pending.”
"You could hear something wrong with the breathing," Raiford said.
Barbara Wilson, the grandmother of Zyon, said she was uncertain of what happened inside the eastern Henrico home where Zyon was being cared for before he was rushed to the hospital.
“I really don’t know, but I know that whatever it was, it was so traumatic that when he got to the hospital his heart had stopped,” Wilson said.
Wilson said a doctor managed to get her grandson’s heart beating again, but that he was brain dead.
William Moore, who lived with Raiford and her husband, said he did nothing wrong. He said he doesn't know why he was charged with abuse, and added he felt sympathy for the family who lost their child.
"I feel very sad, but I know I had nothing to do with it even though I lived there," Moore said from Henrico Jail.
Clarence Raiford declined a request for an interview.
Wilson remembered her grandson as a Spiderman fanatic who protected his family.
“I figured he was going to be a football player, because he would tackle you,” Wilson added.
Wilson, who is still coming to grips with how the boy she affectionately called “Redd” died, said the loss is even more painful because of the connection to the family. While the family continues to grieve, Wilson said she wanted the suspects to know that she is praying for them too.
“I mean, I’ve got to have my family forgive them — forgive themselves. I have to forgive myself for not being there to protect my grandson,” she said.
All three suspects, who are being held at the Henrico County Jail, are due back in court on Aug. 17.
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