Mother of toddler who choked to death at Bronx library demands footage, new legislation

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A Belmont mother is demanding answers after her 2-year-old son choked to death at the Bronx Library Center in September.

On Sept. 15, Azure Forde sent her 14-year-old son and his little brother, Marshall, to the Bronx Library Center to pass time while she cooked Sunday dinner. At 3:15 p.m., police were called to the facility, when 2-year-old Marshall appeared to be choking on a piece of candy. When first responders initially arrived, police say he was unconscious and unresponsive and rushed to Saint Barnabas Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"I was dragged away from my son's dead body, and I didn't even get to say goodbye..." says Forde. "I felt like a criminal, and I don't even know who gave this candy to my son."

Forde and her attorney Sanford Rubenstein says they're going to court next week to demand the New York Public Library give them surveillance video from inside the library on the day of his death to see who gave him a Jolly Rancher that police say killed him.

In a statement, an NYPL spokesperson says, "The library is deeply saddened by the tragic event that occurred at Bronx Library Center and we continue to cooperate with all inquiries."

Forde's journey to get justice for her son doesn't stop at the courthouse -- she plans to advocate for change up in Albany as well.

"I always say that I didn't name my son Marshall Law Forde for nothing. I definitely want there to be a law in place that every employee, especially those who are working around small children, know the Heimlich maneuver and CPR as a condition of their employment," says Forde.

News 12 reached out to state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who helped connect the Forde family to support services immediately after the toddler's death. In a statement, Rivera addressed whether he'd pursue legislation, saying, "I am always working with community members on how we can improve our borough and our state, so we are assessing possible actions we can take to keep children safe and prevent similar tragedies from happening."

 

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