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Baby’s death in Virginia prompts new suspicion

MANASSAS, Va. — A toddler’s death during a visit with his father last month in Virginia is prompting police to more closely investigate the suicide of the man’s mother and the shooting death of a onetime girlfriend in the past decade.

Fifteen-month-old Prince McLeod Rams died during a three-hour, unsupervised visit with his father, Joaquin S. Rams of Manassas, police said. Manassas Police spokesman Lowell Nevill said that led police to further investigate the 2008 suicide of Joaquin Rams’s mother and the 2003 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, Shawn K. Mason.

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The boy’s mother, Hera McLeod, said the system failed to protect the boy after she fought vehemently to prevent the unsupervised visits, which were ordered by a judge in Maryland. Authorities have not yet determined how the boy died, and Rams has not been charged with a crime. But McLeod said the unusual confluence of deaths is not easily explained.

‘‘Either he’s the most unlucky bastard on this planet, or he’s a killer,’’ said McLeod, who fled the relationship with her one-time fiance about two weeks after Prince was born.

Joaquin Rams did not answer calls to his cellphone. His attorney also did not return calls seeking comment.

McLeod said she has been given only a little information about her son’s injuries. But she said the hospital called child protective services because of suspicious injuries, including dried blood in his nose and a forehead bruise.

Joaquin Rams is a suspect in the killing of Mason, 22, who was shot in the head in her Manassas condo in 2003. In 2008, Rams’s mother, Alma Collins, was found dead.

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