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Exclusive: Ruthless-Empire's mum speaks out, says she was not involved in his death

Author
Sam Sherwood,
Publish Date
Thu, 2 Nov 2023, 1:00PM

Exclusive: Ruthless-Empire's mum speaks out, says she was not involved in his death

Author
Sam Sherwood,
Publish Date
Thu, 2 Nov 2023, 1:00PM

The mother of slain toddler Ruthless-Empire has spoken out, saying she was not involved in his death and wants “justice for my Ru Ru”. 

Three people were staying at a home in Lower Hutt when the almost-2-year-old suffered fatal injuries from blunt force trauma, sometime between October 21 and 22. 

Ruthless-Empire Souljah Reign Rhind Shephard Wall was taken, unresponsive, to Hutt Hospital on October 22, up to 12 hours after receiving the severe injuries. The toddler, whose family asked for him to also be referred to by his māramatanga (enlightenment) name Nga Reo, was unable to be saved. 

Police earlier said there were three people of interest they were speaking to with “varying degrees” of engagement. 

The Herald earlier revealed the three people living at the Taitā, Lower Hutt house were Ruthless-Empire’s mother, Storm Angel Wall, as well as Rosie Morunga and her partner Dylan Ross. 

“He was an innocent child who should’ve been safe and loved, and should not have died as he did," police Detective Inspector Nick Pritchard said. Photo / Ngatanahira Reremoana“He was an innocent child who should’ve been safe and loved, and should not have died as he did," police Detective Inspector Nick Pritchard said. Photo / Ngatanahira Reremoana 

On Thursday, Wall spoke to the Herald about her son’s death. 

She claimed on the evening of October 21, one of the people in the home told her to go to bed and they would look after Ruthless-Empire. 

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.” 

When she woke the next morning, she said the toddler was “drowsy”. 

“I thought he was tired.” 

Wall was getting ready to go and visit a cousin when she heard noises in the house. She claimed she was then told Ruthless-Empire was choking. 

She said she then tried doing first aid. “To see if he could get any form of flem or anything out and therefore he was getting his grasp of breath.” 

Wall then rushed him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after. 

Baby Ruthless-Empire died in hospital on October 22. Photo / Ngatanahira ReremoanaBaby Ruthless-Empire died in hospital on October 22. Photo / Ngatanahira Reremoana 

Asked whether she had any part in her son’s death, Wall replied: “No I didn’t”. 

“I just want justice for my son... I want justice for my Ru Ru,” she said. 

“We as a whole entire New Zealand want to know what happened. I just want my son to be laid at rest as he is, nice, beautiful essence that he is and he is home.” 

”I just want the truth to be told... I want justice that’s all.” 

She described Ruthless-Empire as a “blessing”. 

“The happiest little bub you’d ever see. He was a happy, chappy baby,” she said. 

“He was very grateful of any form of loving.” 

Wall said she was “more than sad”, and had been surrounding herself with whānau. 

On Wednesday, the Herald revealed the toddler’s uncle, Ngatanahira Reremoana, contacted Oranga Tamariki with concerns about Ruthless-Empire on December 26 last year, asking for him to be uplifted. 

Wall told the Herald she did not feel the agency supported her enough. 

On Wednesday evening, Morunga took to Instagram saying she knew people had opinions on what had happened. 

The Poole St house in Taitā, Lower Hutt, where baby Ruthless-Empire lived with three adults, Rosie Morunga (top left), Dylan Ross, and Storm Wall, his mother. Photo / Mark MitchellThe Poole St house in Taitā, Lower Hutt, where baby Ruthless-Empire lived with three adults, Rosie Morunga (top left), Dylan Ross, and Storm Wall, his mother. Photo / Mark Mitchell 

“Once me n my partner go in for our second interview and then the ones that have loved and supported us through this time will finally be able to explain and show our evidence to use for the rest carry on having your opinions,” she wrote. 

“Not been able to speak on social media to defend ourselves hurts yes its fkd up what happened but know that their will be justice for baby ru [sic].” 

Morunga said she was not hiding and the police knew where she and her partner were and had their numbers. 

Regarding her second interview, she said it was “time for our turn and for all u fake whanau members acting like use cared [sic]”. 

“I see your comments I see your fakeness and once I can finally defend myself and speak the truth I don’t even want an apology thanks to the real whānau members love us love use forever [sic].” 

Reremoana earlier said he believed Oranga Tamariki “failed our Baby Ru”, and he did not feel like they listened to the whānau’s concerns. 

“They could’ve stepped in and done a bit more. 

“I think they should be held responsible for not intervening in this situation.” 

Oranga Tamariki chief executive Chappie Te Kani told the Herald that, like for many New Zealanders, Ruthless-Empire’s “needless death” had “been weighing heavily on my mind”. 

“Whenever a child is killed, Oranga Tamariki staff feel it deeply. We are an organisation made up of thousands of social workers whose life focus is to care for tamariki and whānau. 

“Again, I would like to acknowledge the grief Baby Ru’s whānau will be experiencing.” 

Te Kani confirmed the toddler was not in Oranga Tamariki custody or care. 

“However, we are actively working alongside our partner agencies to piece together what, if any, support Baby Ru and his whānau were receiving at the time of his death, and if interventions could have occurred. 

“We are in the process of thoroughly reviewing every interaction and decision that was made in relation to Baby Ru and his whānau, with the oversight of our chief social worker Peter Whitcombe. We must protect everyone’s privacy and we are currently not able to go into details.” 

Oranga Tamariki was working with police to support their investigation. 

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. 

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