Though he was only 2 years old, Kindell Roberts had already showed signs of a soul wise beyond its years.
“He was just an old man,” his mother, Antoinette Roberts, said with a laugh.
The loving Milwaukee toddler was considerate and doting in a way unlike many little boys, devoted to helping his mom with his little brother in any way she needed.
“He did everything,” Roberts told InsideEdition.com. “Kindell would help me put his little brother’s pampers on. He’d want me to give [the diaper] to him... My son had a lot of potential in him.”
That potential — and life as Roberts knew it — came to an end last month, when Kindell died in what’s been called a freak accident.
“I was gone for an hour. When I got back, he was dead,” Roberts said.
Roberts, who has five other children, left her three youngest in an adult relative’s care as she enrolled the other kids in a new school. The family had recently moved into their own house in a new neighborhood after working to overcome homelessness.
“All that struggling for so long,” Roberts said, the family was finally happy.
But when Roberts returned home, she found her son unresponsive.
“Somehow, he had gotten on top of his brother’s [top] bunk bed,” she said. “I believe he was scared, because I never saw him get up there and I never let him get up there. He was trying to get down, and he slipped.”
Kindell had gotten stuck between the frame of the bed and the wall, catching his chin or neck in the space, his mother said.
“I can’t picture it. I can’t picture him like that,” Roberts said, catching her breath. “It’s just really hard.”
Kindell’s 3-year-old sister tried to help by pulling him down, but in doing so, “he lost his oxygen,” Roberts said.
Kindell was rushed to a hospital, where the little boy was put on a ventilator.
He died on September 25, five days after the incident, Roberts said.
“My children should have been paid more attention to. This could have been prevented,” Roberts said. “It’s just hard, leaving one minute and he’s around and I come back and he’s no longer here.”
There are days where Roberts wants to sleep away the pain and there have been times that she said she has thought about suicide.
But she pushes those thoughts aside, spurred on by the love for her children and the mission to make sure no other parent feels her pain.
“I want to push the issue as far as making sure children are safe and being attended to,” she said. “Kids need to be in your eyesight all the time. There should not be one time you let them out of your sight.”
In sharing her story, Roberts hopes to start a dialogue about safety to make parents see that such a freak accident can happen to anyone.
“You hear about things … but I really didn’t believe things like this could happen to me,” she said. “My son was super-duper smart. He’s playful. He’s talented. He’s just an amazing kid all around. I feel like I was robbed and I feel like he was robbed of his life, because he wasn’t being watched.”
Kindell’s cause of death is still under investigation. According to the medical examiner’s office, it appears to be accidental.