Joseph and Jodi Wilson of Mount Airy, North Carolina, were arrested in connection with the alleged abuse that followed the death of their 4-year-old son from a traumatic brain injury.
“This is a tragic event that resulted in the death of a precious child too soon,” said Sheriff Steve C. Hyatt said in a news release.
“Please keep the other brothers and sisters involved in this situation and the investigators who worked tirelessly on this case in your thoughts and prayers,” he added.
The arrests come amid an investigation into the Jan. 9 death of their stepson, 4-year-old Skylar Wilson, who authorities say died of injuries related to parental abuse.
According to the Mount Airy News, the couple has two biological children, and two are foster parents. The children in their care were turned over to the Department of Social Services, the sheriff’s office said.
Skyler died Jan. 5 at Brenner Children’s Hospital after emergency medical treatment, officials said. His death was attributed to hypoxic brain injury during the “swaddling” technique, due to “excessive restraints”. According to warrants reviewed by FOX 8, his death is a homicide.
Earlier today, Joseph Wilson allegedly received a text from Jodi Wilson in which she said she was having trouble using Skyler, the documents state. She also allegedly sent a photo of the boy, “wrapped in a sheet or blanket, face down on the floor of Wilson’s living room, duct tape securing him to the floor.”
When Joseph called 911 saying Skyler was having a seizure, a detective allegedly heard a woman say something in the background of the call, according to warrants obtained by WFMY.
Skyler’s former foster family and her brother told investigators that a month before Skyler’s death, they filed a report with the Department of Social Services out of concern for the children’s welfare, WFMY reports.
According to WFMY, she said Jody Wilson talked to her about cutting the boys’ food, isolating them and “exorcising” them.
After the couple’s arrest, a search of their home turned up wrist and ankle bracelets and cameras recording previous abuse, according to multiple reports.
Joseph and Jodi Wilson’s next court date is set for February 2.