Man pleads guilty to Two Rivers child death

Photo: Manitowoc County Jail

MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Two Rivers man has been convicted in the death of a two-year-old child.

On Nov. 7, David Heiden pleaded guilty to Physical Abuse of a Child, Repeated Acts Causing Death. Four additional charges (Physical Abuse of a Child, Repeated Acts Causing Bodily Harm; Chronic Neglect of a Child; Possession of THC; and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia) were dismissed but read into the record, according to Manitowoc County District Attorney Jacalyn LaBre.

Action 2 News has been following updates in this case for months. Heiden is one of three people charged in the April 26 death of Gilbert Grant.

MORE COVERAGE: Documents: Two Rivers boy endured repeated beatings over eight months

Police were called to 2110 E. River St in Two Rivers for a report of a two-year-old boy who was not conscious and not breathing. Crews arrived to find the boy with no pulse and cool to the touch. He was pronounced dead. Gilbert had large bruises on his forehead, cheeks, face, legs, buttocks, back feet and arms.

Police arrested the boy's mother, Rena L. Santiago. They also arrested Santiago's roommates, Bianca Bush and David Heiden.

During a police interview, Heiden detailed months of abuse inflicted on Grant by the three defendants.

Heiden said on the day of the child's death, he had grabbed Gilbert and "shoved him forcefully into the metal futon frame." Heiden said the boy's lower stomach would have been pushed against the frame at the time. Heiden said he "forcefully held him [Gilbert] there" and hit the boy with his hand and a flip flop.

Heiden admitted to treating the boy "poorly." When asked why, he responded, "he's not my kid ... I didn't care," according to a criminal complaint.

An autopsy was completed by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office. Gilbert's cause of death was determined to be from contusions; internal bleeding, a hemorrhage in the bowel; extensive lacerations; and hemorrhage around the head of the pancreas.

Investigators also found signs of older injuries to the abdominal area and small bowel.

Heiden's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2020.

Bianca Bush has a status hearing scheduled for Dec. 9.

Rena Santiago has a plea hearing scheduled for Jan. 9.