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Makai Wanganeen, 7, who died from ‘serious health issues’ pictured as SA Police investigate

A seven-year-old Adelaide boy who died from ‘serious health issues’ has been pictured for the first time – as police launch South Australia’s second major investigation into potential criminal neglect within the last month. 

Makai Wanganeen was ‘very sick’ on February 10 when he was taken from his home in Craigmore, in the city’s north, to Lyell McEwin Hospital, before being transferred to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

He died later that evening, with a special task force now investigating whether his death was due to neglect.

The probe is being carried out by the same investigators looking into the death of six-year-old Charlie, who died in July – reportedly from malnutrition in her family’s government-owned home in Munno Para – also in the city’s northern suburbs.

Detectives are looking into Makai’s five siblings, aged between seven and 16. 

Pictured:  Makai Wanganeen, seven, who died from ‘serious health issues’ earlier this year 

Makai was taken from his home in Craigmore, in the city's north, to the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide (pictured) where he died on February 10

Makai was taken from his home in Craigmore, in the city’s north, to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide (pictured) where he died on February 10

Makai’s father Shane Wanganeen detailed his heartbreak in a gutwrenching Facebook post in March on the day of his son’s funeral.

‘From the bottom of my heart, I would like to show my appreciation to all that have helped and support me throughout this tragic event,’ he said on his page, which has since been deleted.

‘Words can’t really express how much (I) feel and what I really want to say to you all.’

One neighbour described Makai as a ‘happy’ and cheerful’ kid.

 ‘I was just gutted when I heard he died. I walked around in a daze for a couple of days,’ the neighbour told The Advertiser.

Gordon Walters, who also lives on the same street, said he was shocked to hear about Makai’s death.

‘That’s sad… I’m actually shocked by that because the neighbourhood here is generally pretty quiet,’ he said.

Police launch an investigation under Task Force Prime 

South Australia Police detective superintendent Des Bray said during a press conference on Monday that a post-mortem revealed the boy had a number of serious health issues.

‘The cause of death in itself wasn’t enough to raise concern because it was a serious, recognised health issue,’ he said.

Ten days after his death, information from ‘various child protection authorities’ was obtained and handed to police.

‘Soon after, investigators began reviewing volumes of material and obtained an opinion from a paediatric expert,’ Supt. Bray said.

‘They formed the view that sufficient grounds existed to commence a criminal investigation of (alleged) criminal neglect causing death.’

The investigation will determine whether anyone was responsible for Makai’s death, or the alleged neglect of his siblings – who have all been living with their father since November 2020.

The boy’s mother was not living with him or his siblings when he died. 

Charlie (pictured) was six when she was raced to Lyell McEwin Hospital in July. She died from malnutrition

Charlie (pictured) was six when she was raced to Lyell McEwin Hospital in July. She died from malnutrition

The house Charlie died in was surrounded by junk - old toys, a tent, bikes and a disused freezer

The house Charlie died in was surrounded by junk – old toys, a tent, bikes and a disused freezer

When asked whether Makai’s death was similar to Charlie’s, he said: ‘There is (alleged) neglect and abuse which we believe has occurred over a period of time but it doesn’t have all the same characteristics of Charlie’s.’

Charlie was found unresponsive at her family’s housing commission home in Munno Para, in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, in the early hours of Friday, July 15.

Her death sparked a major crimes investigation by police and has led her five siblings to be taken into the care of the state, as their mother was investigated for alleged criminal neglect.

It was later revealed that Charlie was suffering from coeliac disease – a severe immune disorder in which the digestive system reacts to gluten. 

Child protection officers visited Charlie two days before her death but did not seem concerned about her welfare. 

Supt. Bray said criminal neglect allegedly happens when a person with a duty of care to a child failed to take all reasonable steps to protect them from harm, and a child is harmed or dies as a result of that neglect.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk