4-Year-Old Dies After Parents Allegedly Performed Excessive ‘Swaddling’ and ‘Exorcisms’

Joseph and Jodi Wilson of Mount Airy, North Carolina, are currently being detained and charged with murder, following the death of their four-year-old adopted son, Skyler, according to police.

On January 5, Joseph dialed 911 when he believed Skyler was experiencing a seizure. When the EMTs arrived at the house, they were unable to revive him.

An autopsy report concluded that Skyler had passed away due to a hypoxic brain injury caused by deprivation of oxygen, as reported by WGHP.

Investigations into the Wilson home revealed a pattern of abuse. On December 7, the former foster mother of Skyler and his adopted brother expressed her worries to the Social Services Department in Surry County. She claimed that Jodi had admitted to isolating the boys, limiting their food, and even performing “exorcisms.”

Additionally, the Wilsons practiced “swaddling” on Skyler, which is the act of tightly wrapping a child to prevent movement. It is used to promote comfort in babies and is a known risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome and should not be used on children that can roll over.

Jodi sent a text to Joseph on the afternoon of January 5 with a picture of Skyler restrained under a blanket that was secured to the floor with duct tape. Investigators also found wrist and ankle restraints, which Joe allegedly said were for swaddling.

During the 911 call, Jodi can allegedly be heard in the background saying, “It’s my fault.” Skyler and his brother had been placed with the Wilsons in September 2021. The former foster parent is heartbroken over the death and wants justice to be served.

The Wilsons are being held without bond and have another court hearing on February 2. Their children have been taken in by the state Department of Social Services.

Sheriff Steve C. Hiatt said, “This is a tragic event that resulted in the death of a precious child way too soon. 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.”