BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Did the system fail to pick up the warning signs of domestic violence a year before the murder of a 10-year old Buffalo boy?
Young Abdifatah Mohamud called 911 twice last year, claiming his father was going to harm him. And there may have been other warning signs. Child Protective Services was called at one point, and the boy once came to Universal School with black eyes. Administrators say if the father caused those injuries, the entire family did a good job of covering it up.
Principal Kathy Jamil said, "The students, they've been saying, 'Maybe we should have said this' or 'Maybe we should have been asking more.' The staff also wonders what they could have done differently."
Jamil recalls a day in June of 2011, when Mohamud came to school beat up.
"His lower forehead had been swollen and his eyes were swollen as well. And they were also blue and purple," she recounted.
His stepfather, Ali Mohamed Mohamud, now accused of murdering the boy insisted the bruising was a result of a fight on the bus with a much smaller boy. No one else saw the fight, though the boys were playfully horsing around.
Jamil noted, "It was very suspicious. But because the student had admitted to wrestling with him and pushing him, it was very possible that he had just got hit the wrong way on the window."
The principal tried to get Mohamud to confide in her, recalling, "I tried to stress in him that he would be safe with me, and he said, 'I just had a fight on the bus.'"
After the boy came to school beat up, Child Protective Services began an investigation, but they wouldn't return our calls on Wednesday to explain what they did or did not do to protect the boy.
Jamil says everyone was shocked when Mohamud was killed. She did not say there were warning signs, but now in hindsight, the clues were troubling.
"He would say things like, 'I'm going to get killed,' 'I'm in big trouble,' 'I didn't do well on my homework,' 'I didn't do well on my test.' And the students said, but then he would laugh. So he had this tendency to make it unclear if he was serious or not, and certainly the students didn't see it that way," she said.
The boys and girls at Universal School are left with those troubling thoughts. Buffalo Police say they have launched an internal review on how they handled the 911 calls Mohamud placed.
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