WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Slain toddler Baby Ru suffered a broken skull as a result of blunt force trauma, his family allege.
On October 22 Ruthless-Empire Souljah Reign Rhind Shephard Wall died after arriving at Hutt Hospital unresponsive with severe head injuries.
The toddler, now known as Nga Reo Te Huatahi Reremoana Ahipene-Wall, was living at a home in the Lower Hutt suburb of Taitā with his mother Storm Wall, Rosie Morunga, and her partner Dylan Ross.
The Herald can now reveal Baby Ru’s family claim they were told by police he suffered a broken skull.
The toddler’s great-aunt, Sarah Reremoana said police told her early on in the investigation he was killed by blunt force trauma which broke his skull, and that he suffered a brain bleed. She said police were unsure if a weapon was used, or if he was slammed into a table or floor.
“I slammed my hands on their table and screamed and could not imagine why people or anyone could do this to a happy innocent baby,” she said.
She said the whānau had gone from “A to Z in all sorts of ways” since the toddler’s death.
“We’re trying to cope, just making sure that we’ve returned to our regular lives. We’ve put the Christmas tree up... Usually, you’re supposed to be joyful around this time of year... but it’s just been a bit of a different one for us this year.”
This piece of fabric was around Baby Ru's neck when he arrived at hospital.
- ‘You know what happened’: Officer's plea for truth in tragic Baby Ru case
- Slain toddler, Baby Ru, allegedly had piece of fabric wrapped around neck
- Baby Ru homicide: Police seeking hard-drive holding CCTV footage from house
- Family of Ruthless-Empire watching videos of toddler to keep his memory alive
The family were desperate for a resolution, she said.
“We all need answers.”
In response to questions from the Herald about the toddler’s injuries, police said they believed he died of blunt force trauma to the head.
As of Tuesday, no arrests have been made.
On Monday, Detective Inspector Nick Pritchard appealed for information on specific critical evidence.
“We believe that the items were deliberately removed from the Poole St, Taita property and have subsequently been concealed or disposed of.
“Attempts have been made to clean and alter the crime scene before police arrived.”
Police had “determined” that the people seen using a grey-green 1994 Nissan Sentra, registration TE6972, were responsible for disposing of this evidence.
The Nissan travelled to and from the Poole St address three times after Ru was taken to hospital on October 22 and before police were able to secure the scene.
Police are appealing for information on a Provision-ISR NVR5-8200PX+ DRV unit, an Eaton 5E UPS 650VA/360W power backup unit and 2 x NZ Outlets as well as a swatch of duvet cover.
Police were also seeking information about a piece of fabric tied around Ru’s neck when he was taken to hospital.
Police are appealing for information about a swatch of duvet cover.
“Although not a direct cause of his death, the fact that such an item was around his neck is incredibly concerning and we appeal for information from anyone who has seen this item or what it was used for,” Pritchard said.
“The co-operation of our three people of interest is vital to us understanding the truth of what happened to Baby Ru, and ultimately holding those responsible to account.”
Baby Ru died in hospital on October 22.
Pritchard earlier told the Herald that police were still waiting on toxicology results to come back in relation to the toddler as well as forensic analysis on several items taken from the property where he suffered the fatal injuries.
He said police believed the toddler suffered his injuries on the morning of his death when all three persons of interest were home.
The Herald earlier revealed a piece of fabric, similar to a shoelace and about 30cm long, was allegedly wrapped around Baby Ru’s neck when he arrived at the hospital.
Pritchard confirmed there was a piece of fabric around his neck, but he was unable to draw any conclusions on that because it was not a factor in the cause of his death.
“It’s very unusual and we are trying to unpick what it means, how it got there, and again going back to the people that were in the house at the time. Someone will know the answer to why it was there, but we don’t have an answer at this stage.”
An Eaton 5E UPS 650VA/360W power backup unit.
He said the case had a number of complexities, which made the investigation challenging.
Wall earlier claimed in an interview with the Herald that on the evening of October 21 one of the people in the house told her to go to bed and that they would look after Ru.
About 10pm, he was put into her bed. Wall said he “looked normal”.
“I just gave him a last hug, just checking he’s all right.”
Detective Inspector Nick Pritchard confirmed to the Herald a hard drive police are seeking was used to record CCTV footage from the property.
When she woke the next morning, he was “drowsy”. “I thought he was tired.”
She was getting ready to visit a cousin when she heard noises in the house. She claimed she was then told Ru was choking.
She tried doing first aid, “to see if he could get any form of phlegm or anything out and therefore he was getting his grasp of breath”.
Police investigating the death of Baby Ru are seeking sightings of this vehicle on October 22, the day he was taken to Hutt Hospital. Photo / NZ Police
She then took him to the hospital.
Asked whether she had any part in her son’s death, she replied: “No, I didn’t.
“I just want justice for my son ... I want justice for my Ru Ru.”
Dylan Ross, Rosie Morunga, and Storm Angel Wall
Sam Sherwood is a Christchurch-based reporter who covers crime. He is a senior journalist who joined the Herald in 2022 and has worked as a journalist for 10 years.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you