HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — Investigators say he was handcuffed and beaten for taking a slice of birthday cake without permission. Now a nine-year-old Hagerstown boy has died, his mother’s boyfriend is behind bars and police are considering more charges in the case.
Meghan McCorkell has more on this disturbing story.
The Hagerstown boy was fighting for his life for nearly a week before he died on Sunday.
Neighbors in the Hagerstown apartment complex are devastated at what happened.
“I can’t explain it because it frustrates me so bad,” said neighbor Randy Taylor. “Because my children are my life.”
“I don’t know what this world is coming to that someone can do that to a child,” said Abe Bricker.
Investigators say Robert Leroy Wilson was watching his girlfriend’s son, nine-year-old Jack Garcia, when he claims he caught the boy stealing birthday cake that didn’t belong to him. That’s when police say the child was handcuffed and beaten by Wilson.
“No child deserves that. No child deserves to be bound for, of all things, eaten,” Taylor said.
An uncle in the apartment called 911 when Garcia became unresponsive but, according to charging documents obtained by WJZ, the mother—who had come home—sent the paramedics away, saying her son was “simply congested.”
Four hours later, there was another call to 911 after the unconscious child made a “gurgling sound when breathing.” When he got to the hospital, doctors found injuries in varying stages of healing, indicating possible prior abuse.
“If I knew that he was doing that, I would have got that boy out of that apartment,” said neighbor Eileen Aurillo.
WJZ has learned officials with Hagerstown police met with the state’s attorney’s office Monday to discuss filing additional charges in this case. Police officials say anyone involved in the child’s death could face charges—including the boy’s mother.
Wilson is being held on a million dollars’ bond.
The little boy had just celebrated his ninth birthday days before the beating.
His body has been taken to the medical examiner’s office in Washington DC for an autopsy.