Phoenix 19-month-old who died choking at daycare was the ‘boss’ of the family, mom says

PHOENIX (KPNX) – Funeral plans are in place for a 19-month-old boy who died after allegedly choking on a turkey sandwich while at daycare.

Mesa police are investigating Shymir Penn’s death as a homicide after the incident in his babysitter’s care. Penn was at the daycare Tuesday with the babysitter when the fatal incident happened, the boy’s mother, Star Jones said.

“We’ll definitely just miss his spirit. It was just so loving, so happy,” Jones said.

Shymir and his 6-year old brother had been going to that daycare with the babysitter known only as “Tiffany” in Mesa since July, Jones said. The boys went to daycare while Jones worked.

Tiffany called Jones screaming Tuesday. She said Shymir had choked.

Shymir was taken to Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, but the little boy couldn’t be saved and died.

Jones said that prior to this life-altering incident there weren’t any problems with her childcare and that things were going smoothly. Nineteen-month-old Shymir had a bruised face one week, but it seemed it was handled appropriately.

“Before then there had been no issues,” Jones said. “Just a week before that incident he fell at the park while he was with her and he bruised his head and the bruising went all over his face.”

Jones says she has not heard from the caretaker.

“She hasn’t really reached out to make me feel like it truly was an accident, like it was out of her control,” Jones said. “I haven’t gotten anything from her.”

Jones says she prays it was an accident, and she will try to forgive the babysitter, even though that will not bring her son back into the world.

“He was just the light of our family,” Jones said. “I have a fiancé and a 6-year old and he was the boss, he just brought us so much joy, was just so happy and smart and active.”

Services for Shymir are set for Friday at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, California