Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer
Julia Angel Vance,19, the mother of three-month-old Liam Wilson who was pronounced dead in early May, was indicted for murder on Monday, Dec. 18, in Macon County Superior Court. Vance was also charged with negligent child abuse.
Vance’s indictment comes five months after Liam’s father, 21-year-old Jesse Wilson was also indicted and charged with first degree murder.
“As parents we have an obligation to protect our children,” said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. “If a child is being abused by our spouse and we have knowledge of it and we fail to do anything to stop it then when something happens there are investigators who will work tirelessly to seek out the truth. This case serves as an example of those efforts and being held accountable for a parent’s lack of doing what should have come natural… protecting your baby. I can’t speak of the evidence but obviously the Grand Jury saw all they needed of the evidence to indict both parents in this case. This investigation continues as we continue to sort through the evidence and consider additional charges for both parents along with others who may have had knowledge that there was abuse occurring in the home prior to the baby’s death. Meanwhile this investigation continues.”
Wilson was indicted in July for the murder of his 3-month-old son, Liam Wilson. In mid May, authorities with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into the death of the baby, searching the residence and vehicles of Wilson and Vance during an investigation that “Constitutes evidence of a crime and the identity of a person participating in a crime of first degree murder.”
Records on file at the Clerk of Court’s office in regards to Wilson’s indictment states, “The jurors for the State upon their oath present that on or about the date of offense shown in the county name the defendant named above unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously and of malice aforethought did kill and murder Liam Jade Wilson.”
An autopsy was conducted on Liam on Friday, May 12, with Detective Dani Burrows present in Wake Forest. Liam’s body had multiple contusions, petechiae, a bruised frenulum, retinal hemorrhaging, spilling of red blood cells onto the brain, as well as a minimum of 17 visible bruises on his head.
MCSO Detectives Dani Burrows and Amy Stewart launched the investigation after Liam was pronounced dead at Angel Medical Center. Liam’s father Jesse Wilson called 911 the morning of May 9. According to MCSO reports, Wilson was caring for Liam while the child’s mother, Vance, was at work. Jesse told authorities he placed Liam to sleep face down in his bassinet after feeding him at 6 a.m. that morning.
Wilson called 911 to report that Liam was not breathing. Vance was at work during the incident.
The 911 tape included Wilson asking for help.
“I think my baby suffocated. I need somebody to come out here now,” Wilson said.
“Is he breathing?” the 911 dispatcher asked.
Wilson responded, “No. He is not breathing right now. I put him in his room to lay down.”
Wilson told 911 his baby often slept on his belly.
“I checked on him and he was OK. I left him in there for about 30 minutes and came back. He’s not breathing and he’s still laying on his face,” he said. “And I moved him out to the living room and he’s not breathing. I need someone out here now. I need help.”
Court documents show that first responders arrived on scene just before 9 a.m. to find the child unresponsive. MCSO deputies who responded to the call observed that Liam appeared to have bruises on his forehead before being transported to the hospital. According to Dr. Theodore Sikorski, who spoke to detectives after Liam was pronounced dead, the bruises on Liam’s head appeared to look similar to fingerprints. During the interview with Vance, she told detectives she was concerned about seeing bruises on Liam’s head every time that she left Jesse to care for him.
After several interviews with Wilson, he admitted that he often got frustrated with Liam and would squeeze his head. Wilson stated that when he would do that Liam would, “look at him all funny with his eyes and go down to a whimper.” Wilson admitted that he had been reacting that way to the infant over the last month and a half after he became the primary caretaker for Liam since he was out of work and the child’s mother was employed. He also admitted to squeezing the child’s head the morning of the infant’s death.