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Millcreek couple beat child who is not expected to survive, police say

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Oct 20th, 2018 @ 8:15am


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SALT LAKE CITY — Criminal charges have been filed against a mother and boyfriend accused of beating a 5-year-old boy on multiple occasions, finally taking the boy to the hospital a week ago when he was unconscious.

The boy remained hospitalized Friday, but is not expected to survive, according to Unified police.

Charging documents say as of Oct. 12, the boy "was not expected to survive his injuries, and he showed very little brain function."

John M. Manning, 31, and Jordan Kay Wills, 26, both of Millcreek, are charged in 3rd District Court with four counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a third-degree felony. Wills faces an additional count of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the charges will be amended if the boy dies.

Police were called to Primary Children's Hospital on Oct. 10 after a young boy arrived with traumatic brain injuries, a first-degree burn on his right foot, second-degree burns on other parts of his body, a lacerated spleen and a collapsed lung, according to charging documents.

"Doctors reported that the injuries are in different states of healing, indicating that they did not all occur at the same time," the charges state.

Wills is the boy's biological mother and Manning is her fiance. She told police that the boy had fallen, according to the charges.

Police said they later learned that on Oct. 6, the boy's stepmother was with him for 12 hours and noted at that time that the boy "looked as if he had gone through a car windshield" and he "went in and out of consciousness" during the time he was with her.

On Oct. 10, the stepmother contacted a friend and asked her to call police to conduct a welfare check on the boy.

In an interview with the grandparents, they revealed that on July 1, the boy told them that Manning kicked him and hit him with a closed fist for swearing, and "hit him in the back with a bat and broke the bat," the charges state. The grandparents took pictures of the boy's bruises at that time and called police.

When officers interviewed Wills at that time, she said her son had fallen off his bike, according to the charges. Police also noted her cellphone "had been wiped clean."

Wills and Manning left the hospital shortly after the boy was admitted and returned about 12 hours later, according to police. They were later arrested.

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Updated: Friday November 16, 2018 11:01 pm