4-Year-Old Dies After Being Subjected to Exorcism and Other Abuse by Adoptive Parents, Authorities Say
The adoptive parents of a 4-year-old boy have been charged with murder after he died from abuse injuries, authorities said.
A North Carolina couple have been charged with murder after their 4-year-old adopted son died from abuse, including an exorcism and being denied food, according to authorities.
Jodi Ann Wilson and Joseph Wilson were arrested earlier this month, and were indicted this week by a grand jury on murder charges, according to the Surry County Criminal Court Clerk's office. Both are being held without bail, online records show.
Paramedics were summoned on Jan. 5 after Joseph Wilson reported the boy had a seizure, authorities said. The child was transported to a local hospital, where he died four days later from abuse injuries, the sheriff's office said.
"The investigation revealed that Skyler Wilson passed away from injuries related to the abuse sustained by his parents, and his death is being investigated as a homicide," Surry County Sheriff Steve Hiatt said in a statement earlier this month.
Neither parent has entered a plea and have not retained legal counsel, the clerk's office said.
Their first court appearance is scheduled for March 6.
Investigators allegedly found a cellphone photo of the boy "swaddled" in a sheet and duct-taped to the floor, according to an arrest affidavit, local media reported.
“This is a tragic event that resulted in the death of a precious child way too soon,” the sheriff said in his statement. “Please remember the other siblings involved in this situation as well as the investigators who worked tirelessly on this case in your thoughts and prayers.”
Other children in the parents' custody were placed with children's services, authorities said.
A former foster mother of the boy and his brother allegedly told investigators Jodi Wilson had told her the children had been subjected to exorcisms, had been denied food and had been tightly been wrapped in "swaddling" blankets, according to the search warrant affidavits, multiple local news outlets reported, including WGHP-TV.
Swaddling is a practice sometimes used with infants to instill security and recreate the feeling of being in the womb, according to child care experts. It is not recommended by childcare experts for use with babies after they learn to roll over by themselves.
Details of the alleged exorcisms was not included in the search warrant filings, local media reported.
The former foster mother said she had contacted children's services officials with her concerns, the warrants said, according to local outlets. In his statement, Sheriff Hiatt said his department had been contacted by the Department of Social Services on Jan. 6, after learning Skyler had been admitted to a hospital.
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