Police seek more serious charge against mom
An autopsy has confirmed what Warren police had suspected: that 8-month-old George Wilburn Jr. was a victim of homicide.
The infant, who died Tuesday, suffered multiple blunt traumas, according to a preliminary report by Wayne County Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Francisco Diaz.
Warren detectives who arrested the boy’s mother, 20-year-old Delniece Williams of Harper Woods, have forwarded that report to Macomb County prosecutors. Therese Tobin, chief trial attorney for Macomb prosecutors, said Friday through a representative that the investigation continues and had no additional comment.
A sobbing Williams formally was charged Wednesday — nearly 24 hours after her youngest son’s death — with one count of first-degree child abuse, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Police officials pointed out at the time that she could face more serious charges upon completion of autopsy reports.
Williams is held at the Macomb County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
Williams, George and her 2-year-old son spent last weekend at her boyfriend’s home on Toepfer. On Monday afternoon, the couple brought George to Henry Ford Macomb Community Hospital, Warren Campus, saying he was unresponsive and lethargic.
According to hospital personnel, the couple “did not seem to be particularly concerned,” said Warren Detective Cpl. John Pierce, the lead investigator on the case.
The child was not breathing, police said, but doctors who rushed to his aid were able to get him breathing. Within a few hours, he was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Detroit. Williams and her boyfriend, Aaron Matchett — who is not the father of her children — initially told police they thought the infant was head-butted by her 2-year-old son, J Nathan, police said.
Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said Williams later told detectives she threw the child against the wall. Pierce said the Harper Woods woman also told investigators that she dropped George but later stated that she tried to throw him onto a bed but missed.
George died late Tuesday afternoon when life-support systems were disconnected.
X-rays show at least four healing fractures on the left side of George’s rib cage. Police said those injuries are at least four weeks old.
The little boy suffered at least five new fractures to his right-side ribs, including one rib broken twice. George had extensive bruising on his back, and the back of his head was severely swollen.
Police said the boy suffered two skull fractures that caused bleeding of his brain that led to his death.
George’s back also had a bite mark measuring approximately 4-by-2 centimeters. The boy’s father, George Wilburn Sr., said this week that he noticed bite marks on his son on Sept. 21 during parental visitation and that doctors told him the marks were consistent with the bite of a young child.
Police said Williams’ boyfriend, Aaron Matchett, told them he heard a thud inside his home on Monday and thought she dropped little George, police said.
According to police, six other adults and one other child were in the home at the time, including Matchett’s mother and aunt. None of them saw Williams harm the child in the bedroom, where the door purportedly was cracked open, police said.
After going through prisoner intake procedures that includes cursory physical and mental evaluation like other inmates brought to the Macomb County Jail, Williams is being held in the mental health unit at the jail, said Macomb Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Wickersham. He could not elaborate but said staff in that unit determine whether inmates in that section should remain there for the duration of their incarceration at the county jail, or if they can be returned to the jail’s general population.
Williams has not yet completed a form listing visitors she would be willing to see, Wickersham said.
She is scheduled to return to 37th District Court for a preliminary hearing Oct. 21 to determine whether she should stand trial.
Contacted Friday by The Macomb Daily, George Wilburn Sr. said he was unaware of the medical examiner’s report but not surprised by the finding.
“All I want is justice for my son,” said Wilburn, 19.
A funeral service for George Jr. will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Unity Baptist Church, 7500 Tireman, Detroit. Visitation will be 3-8 p.m. Thursday at O.H. Pye Funeral Home, 17600 Plymouth Road, Detroit. A family hour will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the church.
Meantime, the disturbing, violent death of a defenseless child has affected veteran Warren law enforcers.