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Parents starved, fatally beat boy, police say

PHILADELPHIA - A former foster mother of a 6-year-old Philadelphia boy allegedly starved and fatally beaten by his parents said they should not have been granted custody of the boy three years ago.

Khalil Wimes weighed less than 30 pounds when he died Monday, according to police. Police were notified after the boy was taken to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the medical examiner determined the death was caused by blunt-force trauma and malnutrition, according to Officer Tanya Little, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia police.

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Authorities arrested the child’s parents - Latiff Hadi and Tina Cuffie - and charged them with murder, aggravated assault, and child endangerment. Court documents list Floyd Wimes as an alias for Hadi. Both parents are in custody, but it was not clear whether they had attorneys.

Alicia Nixon, the boy’s cousin and former foster mother, said he was returned to his parents in March 2009 despite her objections. Nixon, 35, said she never saw signs of physical abuse but said his parents had drug problems.

Nixon said she started caring for the boy shortly after he was born in February 2006 and got custody in March 2007, though the parents had visitation rights. “We just didn’t want them to be his caretakers,’’ she said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services declined to comment Thursday.

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