By Domingo Ramirez Jr. and Bill Miller
FORT WORTH — A 5-year-old boy who reportedly was last seen alive as he rode away on his bicycle was found dead Wednesday in the back yard of a vacant house in southeast Fort Worth.
A woman delivering meals for a free-lunch program found Sida Osman, covered in blood, at 4801 Lois St., relatives said they were told.
“We believe that somebody hurt him,” said Ibrahim Muday, who said he is an uncle of the boy.
Fort Worth police said that a body was found about 1 p.m. and that they were working with the Tarrant County medical examiner to confirm that it was Sida.
He was last seen shortly after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Weber Garden Apartments on Virgil Street, where he lived. The body was found about a block north of the complex.
“Homicide investigators are working the case,” police Sgt. Kelly Peel said.
After learning of Sida’s death Wednesday, residents gathered in protest, shouting “Peace and justice!”
“We are a peaceful neighborhood,” said Muktar Mohamad, who led the group of more than 20 residents. Some held signs that said, “We need peace, peace and justice.”
Muday and Mohamad are among the leaders of the Tarrant County Somali Bantu Association. They said many in the neighborhood are Somalians who spent time in refugee camps in Kenya after fleeing unrest in their native country.
“I have lived in Fort Worth since 2005, and this is the first time I had a sad day like this,” said Muday. “This is something not done to a little boy.”
Said Mohamad: “This is a tragedy. There’s a coward that needs to be found.”
On Tuesday, Sida was playing outside the complex, which is east of Pate Elementary School, relatives said.
When his mother called for him to come home, police said, he took off in another direction.
“He was told not to ride his bicycle because it was too hot,” Muday said. “He liked to ride his bicycle all the time. He was a bike boy.”
The child’s grandfather, Mohamed Yerow, who lives in the same apartment complex, said Sida was a “nice child and a good baby” who eagerly helped him unload groceries.
With Muday interpreting, the grandfather said the boy attended Pate Elementary and was going to be in kindergarten when classes resumed in the fall.
He said that the boy’s teacher, upon learning of the death, came to the grandparents’ apartment to express condolences, and that she wept.
Muday continued: “He said that he feels since his grandchild is dead that he wants to die too, because it is something very horrible.
“He also feels that he is not safe. He said, ‘If kids are not safe, then nobody is safe.'”
It was not immediately clear when Sida’s family reported him missing.
Nimo Abdi, 11, who also lives in the complex, said Sida was always outside playing or riding.
“He sometimes would go to a nearby church and pick apples,” the girl said. That church is adjacent to the vacant house where his body was found.
Halimo Ibrahaim, 12, said she saw Sida on his bike Tuesday.
“He was by himself when I saw him,” she said.
Police began their search Tuesday evening and continued into Wednesday, using a helicopter and officers on the ground.
The case, they said, did not qualify for an Amber Alert because authorities did not initially believe that foul play was involved. The Department of Justice recommends that police confirm that an abduction has occurred before activating the alert.
Mary Marshall lives next door to the Lois Street house where Sida was found. She said it has been vacant for six months.
“I didn’t hear a thing,” she said. “Oh, Lord, it’s terrible now that I know what happened in that back yard.”
Burglars have broken into the house several times, she said.
“I didn’t like that it was vacant because of the problems,” Marshall said.