A North Carolina couple has been accused of performing a series of amateur “exorcisms” that contributed to the death of their adopted child.
According to WFMY, Mount Airy residents Joseph and Jodi Wilson were arrested on Jan. 13, less than a week after their 4-year-old son Skyler died in the hospital. Authorities say the father had called 911 on Jan. 5, claiming the child was suffering a seizure. Officials claim a woman was heard in the background of the call saying, “It’s my fault.”
Emergency personnel arrived at the family’s home shortly after and found Skyler unresponsive. The boy was then transferred to the hospital, where a doctor determined he had suffered some kind of brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen. Skyler died from his injuries on Jan. 9.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation launched a homicide probe and concluded the child had succumbed to “injuries related to the abuse sustained by his parents.” According to a search warrant, Jodi had texted her husband shortly before 911 was called. The message included a photo of Skyler “wrapped in a sheet or a blanket face-down on the Wilsons’ living room floor with duct tape” securing him to the ground.
A search at the Wilson’s residence yielded wrist and ankle restraints as well as home surveillance footage that captured alleged abuse prior to Skyler’s death. Investigators also conducted interviews, which revealed a former foster parent had filed a report with the Department of Social Services last month expressing concern about the child’s safety.
The individual reportedly claimed that Jodi admitted to performing exorcisms on Skyler and his siblings, as well as restricting their food intake.
“This is a tragic event that resulted in the death of a precious child way too soon,” Sheriff Steve C. Hiatt said. “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.”
The Wilsons are currently being held without bond and will make a court appearance on Feb. 2. Their other children are in the custody of DSS.