5-year-old boy dies after brain bleed, suspects claim horrific injuries caused by ‘self-harm’

Three relatives charged in March’s death of a 5-year-old West Virginia boy will face prosecution in separate trials, a judge ruled on Friday.

Keaton Boggs’ grandmother, Michelle Boggs, 49, and her daughter and son-in-law, Chasity and Peter Wodzinski, 29 and 32, are charged with the death of a child by parent, guardian or custodian by child abuse. The trio has pleaded not guilty — claiming the boy’s injuries were caused by self-harm or accidents, according to WV News.

Keaton Boggs died on March 20, two days after Michelle Boggs and Chasity Wodzinski took him to the hospital. Doctors ultimately determined that the brain injuries he suffered were irreversible.

Keaton Boggs reportedly sustained bleeding on his brain and to his eyes, bruising all over his body, and ear trauma. He allegedly also had a laceration to his penile shaft and injuries to his testicles and inner thigh.

Prosecutors said Keaton Boggs’ injuries were in various stages of healing. They also claimed his guardians covered up evidence of the abuse with makeup.

WCHS reported that Michelle Boggs and Chasity and Peter Wodzinski started caring for the Keaton Boggs after his father died in June 2019. Last year, two people close to the family told the media that calls were made to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and its Bureau for Children and Families about the 5-year-old weeks before he died. 

State police reportedly recovered images and text messages — some deleted — from Michelle Boggs and Chasity Wodzinski’s phone. Peter Wodzinski’s phone could not be properly assessed as it was password protected and incompatible with investigators’ software, according to WV News.

Prosecutors said they will use the recovered photos and messages to support their claim that Keaton Boggs was abused for an extended period of time.

According to the news outlet, prosecutors also said the only plea deal that they offered to the three suspects involves each suspect pleading guilty to the charge against them. They reportedly declined the offer, as they would still face 15 years to life according to the terms of the proposed plea agreement.

Peter Wodzinski is expected to be tried first on March 1. The other two trials are scheduled for March 29 and April 19. However, they may be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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[Featured image: Keaton Boggs/Facebook]