8-year-old dies of carbon monoxide poisoning, mother charged

Brandon Yang


Mother charged in the death of her son 

On January 16th a 16-year-old boy returning home from school smelled smoke in the town home she shared with his mother Li Rong Zhang (39) and his younger brother Brandon Yang (8).  After attempting to get into his mother’s bedroom and kicking the door several times, he called 911.  The firefighters arrived and broke through a makeshift barricade to find Brandon face down on the bed and his mother face down on the floor, near by a hibachi grill full of charcoal briquettes glowing red in the middle.  CPR was performed on both, but Brandon later died at Quincy Medical Center, his mother was treated for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Boston Medical Center. 

Despite all the neighbors’ claims that Li Rong would never harm her children, the police believe this was a case of murder-suicide.  As the door, the only way to escape the room, was barricaded with a large bureau extending from floor to ceiling, there was no food in the room or on the grill.  According to police chief Keenan suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning is quite common in their native country ….China. 

Brandon was just honored at his school in the “Terrific Kids” program.  By all accounts he was a great child, who loved his family and had a great relationship with his older brother. 

Zhang was arraigned on murder charges in her hospital room. 

This is so sad a good kid, a mother who appeared to be a loving, doting and attentive mother and she does this.  Not one of her neighbors believe it was in purpose, but there was no other pliable reason for the grill to be inside the home.  The heat and electricity were both operating properly.  Why barricade the only way out, if the intention was not there to keep them in the room.  I guess we should be grateful she did it gently, instead of torturing him.  But to me it is sad state of affairs when we can be so used to parents taking their children’s lives that we are grateful she did it gently. 

Thanks to Jill P. for the tip.