- Nine-year-old Hasbul Nehan, who had autism, tragically drowned after going missing from an Ikea store in Brooklyn, NYC.
- The family alerted the store 90 minutes prior to the police report, but surveillance footage was only accessed after police arrival.
- Hasbul’s death is a heart-wrenching incident, and it comes amid a series of drownings in the area that remain under investigation.
In a tragic turn of events, an autistic boy was found dead, drowned in the Erie Basin waterfront, shortly after going missing from an Ikea store in Brooklyn, NYC. The incident took place on Wednesday night and has left the family heartbroken.
Hasbul Nehan, a 9-year-old boy with autism, had been in the care of a babysitter while visiting the Ikea store in Brooklyn with his family. According to the family, Hasbul, who had no ability to speak, was last seen happily bouncing with his little sister Miriyamah, 6, on the beds inside the store. The boy’s mother, Abida Sultana, recalled the moments leading up to the tragedy. “It was for a moment that I called the nanny for something, and within minutes we started looking for him when I couldn’t see him around,” she said.
Sultana, Hasbul, his nanny, and his two younger sisters had gone to the Red Hook Ikea for the ocean views of the large Beard St. store. “Hasbul loved the ocean and the water,” his heartbroken mother noted, clutching the orange sandals her son was wearing the night he died. Police officers searching for the boy found one of those shoes on the shore and the other in the water before discovering him drowned.
Hasbul was reported missing around 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to the police. However, his family claimed that it had already been 90 minutes since they had alerted the Ikea store about his disappearance. They said that at 8:30 p.m., they asked Ikea workers to view the store’s surveillance footage to find out where Hasbul had gone, but managers only allowed police to view it when they arrived later.
“If the police had investigated the water in time, my son could have been saved,” the mother insisted. Surveillance footage eventually showed the child emerging from the store and heading towards the water. NYPD divers recovered his body shortly after 12:30 a.m. Thursday, following a frantic search of the boardwalk. At the moment, police believe the death was accidental.
Hasbul’s older brother, Dehan Nehan, 16, expressed his grief, saying, “I didn’t think this tragedy would happen to him. I had a lot of fun with him. His autism didn’t matter to us. He wasn’t a burden. We loved him.”
A spokesperson for Ikea expressed their condolences. “We at IKEA are devastated by this tragedy,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the family at this difficult time.”
In a similar case in 2016, the family of a 14-year-old autistic boy, whose body washed up on a Queens beach after running from school, won $2.7 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against New York City. Recently, two young men were found dead, drowned, after being reported missing while attending The Brooklyn Mirage concert venue. The city medical examiner has not yet announced an official cause of death for either, and the NYPD has not established any connection between the three cases.