Va. Father Charged with Toddler’s Murder

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File photo of a jail cell. (Photo by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via Getty Images)

File photo of a jail cell. (Photo by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via Getty Images)

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MANASSAS, Va. — A Manassas man was charged Friday with murdering his 15-month-old son after medical examiners determined that the boy drowned.

Manassas City Police arrested Joaquin Shadow Rams, 40, and charged him with first-degree murder for the Oct. 20 death of Prince McLeod Rams.

At the time, the toddler had been on a court-ordered, unsupervised visit with his father.

The boy’s mother, Hera McLeod, had fought unsuccessfully against unsupervised visitation, worrying that her son would be in danger.

Rams’ arrest came after medical examiners determined that Prince Rams died of drowning. Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert also said the father had taken out multiple life insurance policies on his son.

The boy’s death has also prompted further investigation of the 2008 death of Joaquin Rams’ mother and the unsolved 2003 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend.

Rams is in custody and expected to be arraigned on Monday, Ebert said. Rams’ lawyer did not immediately return a call Friday seeking comment.

McLeod — an intelligence analyst who had previously been a contestant with her father on the CBS reality show “The Amazing Race” — said she was relieved when she learned of her former fiance’s arrest.

“I’ve spent the last two years, and especially the last four months, terrified,” McLeod said, worried that her own life was in danger. For a time, she had moved out of state out of concern for her safety.

On a blog she has maintained since her son’s death, McLeod wrote Friday that she is still angry at the authorities who ignored her concerns for Prince’s safety and granted Rams unsupervised visitation.

“Had the justice system been there for us before now, my son would be here to celebrate this moment with me,” she wrote. “I am not sure that I will ever be able to forgive my country for the terrible injustices that led to the death of my son. I am not sure if I will ever forgive myself for following the law and waiting for justice my son would not live long enough to see.”

“The unfortunate thing is this could have been prevented,” she said in a phone interview.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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