A North Carolina couple has been arrested and is facing murder charges after their 4-year-old son, Skyler Wilson, died of injuries sustained as a result of child abuse. The couple is being accused of restraining their child with a swaddling technique, preventing him from eating food, and performing ‘exorcisms.’
According to a statement by Steve C. Hiatt of the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, the two parents are being identified as Joseph Wilson, 41, and Jodi Wilson, 38. They were arrested on January 13th and are being held at the Surry County Detention Center under no bond – a court date has been set for Feb. 2.
There were four other children under the Wilsons’ care at the time of their arrest – they have three kids of their own and are foster parents to two others, including Skyler. All other children in the household have been turned over to the Department of Child Services while the parents await their court date and trial.
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The Sheriff’s Office received a phone call on January 6 regarding a young child who was ‘transported to Brenner’s Children Hospital by Surry County Emergency Medical Services after suffering from a medical emergency’ the day before. On January 9, the innocent 4-year-old – Skyler Wilson – died of his injuries.
“The Surry County Sheriff’s Office [CID] initiated an investigation … and have requested the assistance of the [NCSBI]. 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,” said Hiatt in the statement.
In the days since the death went public, the accusations against the couple grew more severe as officers learned the extent of the child abuse and subsequent injuries. The 4-year-old allegedly died from hypoxic brain injury, which was caused by ‘too much restriction’ during a ‘swaddling technique’ on the child.
“This is a tragic event that resulted in the death of a precious child way too soon. 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,” Hiatt concluded. The investigation is still ongoing as more details are learned.
Former Foster Parent Warned Social Services of Potential Child Abuse
According to several news outlets, one of Skyler Wilson’s former foster parents warned the Department of Social Services of potential child abuse a month before his death a few weeks ago. They alleged that Jodi Wilson was guilty of restricting the child’s food, isolating him, and performing “exorcisms” on the child.
Things got worse when the Wilsons’ home was searched, with police officers finding ankle and wrist restraints – which were used for swaddling. The police also turned up text messages between Joseph and Jodi the day Skyler was sent to the hospital – Joseph had also called 911 to report a seizure.
The text messages show Jodi explaining to Joseph how she was having difficulty swaddling their son. She also sent a photo of their son “wrapped in a sheet or a blanket face-down on the Wilsons’ living room floor with duct tape attaching him to the floor,” according to police records.
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As of right now, it is unclear if the Wilsons have requested an attorney, and there’s no information regarding any pleas being made (yet). Their next court date is set for February 2nd, at which point we’ll learn more about how and when the criminal trial will proceed. Our hearts go to all those involved.
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