Turkish soccer player Cevher Toktas could’ve gotten away with murder, but 11 days after his son died he told police he was responsible for the 5-year-old child’s death.
According to the Associated Press, Toktas told police he smothered his son, Kasim, with a pillow while they were both in the hospital with symptoms consistent with coronavirus on April 23 — National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, a Turkish holiday celebrating children.
As of May 15, Turkey had more than 146,000 COVID-19 cases and just over 4,000 deaths from the illness, according to Worldometer. However, the child’s test for the virus came back negative.
The boys’ death was not considered suspicious since he’d been in the hospital with a fever and coughing, but Toktas felt remorse for taking his son’s life, according to the AP, and ultimately went to police May 4 to confess.
Toktas Told Police He Doesn’t Have ‘Mental Issues’ but He Killed His Son Because He Didn’t Love or Like Him
Turkish news outlet the Daily Sabah reported that Toktas told police he smothered his son with a pillow for 15 minutes, until he stopped struggling, before calling for help from hospital staff, which he only did to throw suspicion off himself. Toktas told nurses that Kasim was having trouble breathing and he was rushed to the ICU.
According to the Daily Sabah, in his statement to police Toktas said:
I pressed a pillow on my son who was lying on his back. For 15 minutes, I pressed down on the pillow without lifting it up. My son was struggling during that time. After he stopped moving, I lifted the pillow. Then I yelled for doctors to help to draw any suspicions away from me. I never loved my younger son after he was born. I don’t know why I don’t love him. The sole reason why I killed him that day is because I didn’t like him. I don’t have any mental issues.
The child died two hours later.
The Boy’s Body Will Be Exhumed For an Autopsy
While the coroner originally attributed the death to Kasim’s unconfirmed illness, authorities will exhume and autopsy the child, who was buried the day after his death, according to Republic World.
The 32-year-old father and former Super Lig soccer player, who currently plays on an amateur league team, was arrested and charged with “murdering a close relative,” which is punishable by life in prison in Turkey, according to the Daily Sabah. The Associated Press reported no trial date has been set. Super Lig is Turkey’s top-level soccer league.
On April 29, Toktas posted a picture on Facebook of a child watering flowers on a grave with a sign marked with Kasim’s name and wrote, “Don’t depend on the world.”