North Carolina parents have been arrested and charged for allegedly performing an exorcism on their four-year-old son who later died.
Joseph Paul ‘Joe’ Wilson, 41, and Jodi Ann Wilson, 38, of Surry County, North Carolina were arrested on January 13 after their adoptive son, Skyler, died on January 9.
According to local media, the couple alleged to have restrained and isolated Skyler and performed an exorcism, in addition to other instances of ‘abuse.’
In warrants obtained by WFMY, Jodi is accused of sending a picture to her husband of Skyler wrapped in a sheet facedown on the floor with duct tape holding the blanket to the ground.
This is Skyler Wilson, 4, who died from injuries ‘related to abuse sustained by his parents’
Law enforcement officials say Skyler was brought into a local hospital on January 5 and Child Protective Services was called on January 6 after sustaining ‘injuries related to the abuse’ from his parents.
The Wilsons are being held in the Surry County Detention Center without bond.
According to local outlets, Joseph called 911 on January 5, reporting that Skyler was having a seizure.
During the call, a Surry County detective said a woman, purportedly Jodi, could be heard in the background saying, ‘it’s my fault.’
When EMS arrived, Skyler was not breathing.
The boy was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he remained until his death.
A doctor told law enforcement the boy’s brain had sustained damage from a lack of oxygen caused by restriction.
Joseph Wilson, 41, and Jodi Wilson, 38, have been arrested and charged
Hours before Joe called 911 on January 5 is when investigators say the photo was sent from Jodi to Joe’s phone, officials said.
Along with the photo of the boy wrapped in a blanket duct-taped to the floor, Jodi allegedly wrote that something had happened while swaddling their son.
Swaddling is a soothing technique used to help babies fall asleep. The tool includes firmly wrapping a blanket around a baby’s body so they are unable to move.
The technique has been correlated to increased chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and is not encouraged for children old enough to roll over.
WFMY spoke with related parties who said that the death came nearly one month to the day after a former foster parent filed a report with the Department of Social Services.
The parent told the outlet they were concerned for the child’s wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of the other children in the home, based on things Jodi had said.
‘He was so tiny and small but had a heart three times bigger than he was,’ Skyler’s former foster mom said
The former foster parent said Jodi mentioned the swaddling, food restriction, and exorcisms of the kids.
During searches of the home, investigators said they found wrist and ankle restraints.
Law enforcement also took digital records from computers and phones.
Records included home surveillance videos that show abuse prior to the murder.
‘This is a tragic event that resulted in the death of a precious child way too soon,’ Surry County Sheriff Steve C. Hiatt said in a statement.
Skyler’s former foster mother who spoke with Fox 8 in North Carolina described him as a social butterfly with a big heart.
‘He was so tiny and small but had a heart three times bigger than he was,’ she said. ‘I want to love unconditionally and remember his smile and the little things.’
Skyler’s former foster mother said Tuesday. ‘I want justice to be served.’
The boy’s speech therapist told Fox 8 she was shocked and heartbroken to learn of his murder.
‘He had been improving so much, and even if a child did have certain behaviors, there’s still no need for something that drastic at all,’ she said.
‘That’s why it’s so heartbreaking and confusing,’ she said.
The Wilsons will next appear in court on February 2.
Other children were in the couple’s custody at the time of the incident.
The Surry County Sheriff’s Office said those children are currently in the care of the Department of Social Services.
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