Two grieving parents whose toddler died in Oranga Tamariki custody say they still don't know what happened to their child and are desperate for answers three months on.
Two-year-old Deajay Parkinson-Batt died on June 2 after being rushed to Palmerston North Hospital and admitted to ICU.
Police say the death is "unexplained" and still under investigation.
"I know something's happened but no one's saying anything," mother Talia Parkinson, 23, told the Herald.
"No one's come to us at all. I can't be angry because I just don't know what's happened to my son."
A coroner has released part of Deajay's brain to the family, which was taken during a post-mortem examination.
It is being kept in a sealed box at his parents' Palmerston North house. They are planning a ceremony next month at Deajay's Wairarapa grave to reunite his remains.
"It's just right to put the rest of his body back with him so he's whole."
They are also saving for a headstone for the grave which is decorated with photos of their "baby boy" and his favourite toys - trucks and cars.
The Herald revealed in June that police had compounded the parents' grief in a distressing legal bungle.
Deajay was taken into Oranga Tamariki custody in June 2018 and placed in the care of a wider family member.
When the coroner released Deajay's body to his birth parents after the post-mortem, two police officers arrived at the funeral home as Parkinson and Deajay's father, Dion Junior Batt, 24, were preparing their son for his tangi.
The officers wanted to take the child's body and return him to his caregiver, before realising the biological parents had legal ownership and leaving empty handed.
Police admitted getting it wrong but have refused to apologise for the mistake.
Parkinson and Batt complained about the incident to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA).
But in a letter to the couple last month, the IPCA cleared police of wrongdoing.
It says police liaised with Oranga Tamariki as part of a criminal investigation into the death, but the child welfare agency did not advise police "until asked" that custody orders were no longer valid after Deajay died.
"Because of this there was some confusion about who could recover Dejay's [sic] body once the post-mortem was complete."
Once police learned Oranga Tamariki's custody orders had lapsed following the death, "no further action to relocate or uplift Dejay [sic] occurred".
"On the information we have viewed, the Authority has not identified any misconduct or neglect of duty on the part of police. We will therefore take no further action."
The police investigation into Deajay's death was continuing, but awaiting the outcome of a pathologist's report, the IPCA said.
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Parkinson said she was disappointed with the IPCA finding. The police error had shown insensitivity to the family and disrespect.
"It's not right. They know what they did. They just walked in and said they were coming to take him. I just cried.
"It's like they didn't even know what they were doing."
Parkinson could not understand the delay in providing answers about her son's death.
A doctor at the hospital told the family Deajay had suffered a severe brain injury. They needed to know how he died.
"It's just not good enough. If that was your kid you'd want to know what happened. It can't just be unexplained.
"Was it a seizure? We don't even know. But we're just thinking the worst."
Manawatu Area Commander Inspector Sarah Stewart noted the IPCA ruling.
She also acknowledged that the death of such a young child was extremely distressing for his whanau and others involved.
"Officers attending the funeral home were faced with a complicated situation involving a grieving family, and worked quickly to find a solution.
"We would reiterate that our staff did not try to remove the child and instead facilitated an amicable arrangement with all parties present."
A coronial services spokesman said Deajay's death had been referred to the coroner, but the inquiry was awaiting the final post-mortem report from the forensic pathologist and further information from police.
In a statement to the Herald, Oranga Tamariki's deputy chief executive services for children and families north, Glynis Sandland, said it acknowledged the grief of Deajay's parents.
Oranga Tamariki offered to pay for Deajay's tangi. It also provided financial support to wider family for travel and accommodation costs for the tangi.
"While we understand their need for answers, the police investigation is ongoing. A coroner is yet to determine the cause of death," Sandland said.
"Oranga Tamariki advised the police that the custody orders in place for Deajay ceased at the time of his death. That meant his biological parents had the authority to arrange his tangi.
"We conveyed our condolences to Talia and Dion through wider whanau and other agencies."