Family of slain Waco boy devastated, say ‘the system failed’ for awarding father custody

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The family of a 10-year-old boy, who Waco Police say was killed by his father, say they believe he was being abused prior to his death.

Police arrested the father, Bronchae Defraunce Lewis, 36, on charges of resisting arrest, attempting to take an officer’s weapon, and capital murder in connection to the killing of his 10-year-old son.

Police officers say they were dispatched to an apartment at 2400 Washington Avenue late Wednesday night after Lewis called 911 to report his son was dead and “lying in a pool of blood.”

When officers got there they found a 10-year-old boy who “sustained severe and life-threatening injuries.” An affidavit obtained by News 10 states the boy was “on a mattress bleeding from his neck area.”

10-year-old James Lewis’ maternal grandmother, Sheila Walker, said he had only been living with his father for a year before his death.  James, the family says, was autistic and non-verbal.

The family said prior to living with his father, James was being cared for by Walker and an aunt. His mother, they said, had mental health issues that caused Child Protective Services to get involved. The family said the courts awarded custody to the boy’s father despite their pleas against it and despite his aunt fighting for custody too.

James Lewis with his family who loved him.
James Lewis with his family who loved him.(Courtesy Photos)

“The only reason he wanted James is to get out of child support so he wouldn’t have to pay it,” said the boy’s uncle, John Childers. “He wasn’t in James’ life. He’s never been to a birthday. He never talked to him.”

According to family members, the boy’s father isolated him from other family members for the past year he was living with him. They say his mother was only allowed to speak with her son over video calls once a week and she allegedly noticed signs of abuse.

“She would see bruises and marks on him,” Walker said, “and to me, the system failed by grandson because my daughter would report it. She would report it.”

News Ten has not independently confirmed any child abuse reports made through CPS.

Although James was non-verbal, his life spoke volumes even to his teachers at the Mentoring Alliance (Formerly Boys & Girls Club Waco) where he spent the past two summers.

“We had an iPad for James, and he loved playing the goodbye song on it every day,” said James Jarmon, one of Mentoring Alliance teachers. “He was non-verbal but the only sentence he could put together was singing ‘goodbye, goodbye, see you again’,” Jarmon said. “And I know we’ll see him again. I know we will.”

Funeral arrangements for James are being planned through the Serenity Life Celebrations funeral home in Waco.

Written by Rosemond Crown

Categories: Crime

Tagged as: , , ,

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