Parents Accused of Restraint, Performing Exorcisms in Death of 4-Year-Old North Carolina Boy

The parents of a 4-year-old North Carolina boy who died earlier this month are accused of excessively restraining the boy, restricting food, and performing exorcisms on the the child.

Joseph Wilson called 911 on January 5 and reported that Skyler Wilson was having a seizure, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Emergency medical personnel said the boy wasn’t breathing when they arrived, and they took him to Brenner’s Children’s Hospital, where he died four days later. A doctor said the child’s brain was injured by a lack of oxygen caused by some type of restriction.

Newly released search warrants say that the Surry County Department of Social Services received a report in early December from a former foster parent who was concerned about the well-being of Skyler and his brother, WGHP reports.

The foster parent “advised that Jodi Wilson had told her about ‘pouching,’ swaddling, food restriction, refusal of [Skyler’s brother] to walk by himself, the gating of Skyler in a room for excessive ‘alone’ time, and the exorcisms of both children.”

The search warrants revealed that Jodi Wilson texted her husband several hours before he called 911 to say that something happened while she was swaddling the boy. The father said she sent him a photo of Skyler wrapped in a sheet and duct taped face down on the floor.

Joe and Jody Wilson mugshots

Swaddling is a practice that involves snuggly wrapping an infant’s body in a light blanket or sheet to help them relax. The head and neck should remain outside the blanket, and experts advise the practice should end when the child can roll over.

The warrants say the particular practices the Wilsons used were learned from Nancy Thomas, a a self-described “professional therapeutic parent.” She told WGHP she had “no knowledge of the incident” and was  “willing to assist law enforcement if they have any questions.”

Investigators who conducted the searches reported finding wrist and ankle restraints and home surveillance videos that showed abuse prior to January 5.

The Wilsons are due back in court on February 2. The state Department of Health and Human Services has not responded to requests for comment.

The other children in the home — the Wilsons’ three biological children and Skyler’s brother — are now in the custody of state officials.

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[Featured image: Skyler Wilson/handout]