Documents: Two Rivers boy endured repeated beatings over eight months

Photo: Manitowoc County Jail

MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - APRIL 30 UPDATE:

A Two Rivers boy who died April 26 endured repeated beatings over an eight-month period, according to probable cause statements obtained by Action 2 News.

The boy was identified as Gilbert A. Grant II. Grant's mother and her two roommates were taken into custody and appeared in court Monday for bail hearings.

Formal charges are expected to be filed this week, according to Manitowoc County District Attorney Jacalyn LaBre.

On April 26, police were called to 2110 E. River St 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.

The boy, later identified as Gilbert Grant, had large bruises on his forehead, cheeks, face, legs, buttocks, back feet and arms.

Police arrested the boy's mother, Rena L. Santiago, 27, and her roommates, David R. Heiden, 28, and Bianca M. Bush, 25.

WARNING: The following details are very graphic. Proceed at your discretion.

The probable cause document says David Heiden admitted to "physically disciplining" Gilbert Grant with his hand, a belt and a shoe over the past eight months. Heiden said he pushed the boy so he would fall over. Heiden admitted to shoving food down the boy's throat on several occasions. Heiden admitted to picking the boy up by his sides and shaking him while yelling at him to go to sleep.

"Defendant said shortly after that the victim was quiet, still and looked to be sleeping with his eyes open. Defendant said he thinks the shaking is what killed the Victim because of the force he used," reads the probable cause statement.

The boy's mother, Rena Santiago, told investigators that she and her roommate, Bianca Bush, also hit the boy repeatedly over the last several months.

She said the boy had been hit with a belt, shoe and open hands.

Heiden told police that he had witnessed Bush force the boy to throw up and make him eat his own vomit.

The probable cause statement says that Bush rents the apartment and allows Santiago to engage in prostitution there. Bush would help Santiago set prices for sex acts. Santiago said her son was in the apartment when the prostitution was taking place.

Bush said she smoked marijuana in the apartment with the victim present. She said she hid her bong and flushed drugs down the toilet before police arrived on scene the day the boy died.

Santiago told police she was aware of the bruises on her son and that's why she would not take him to the doctor for check ups.

Santiago said she witnessed all of the "physical discipline" and "approved of it," according to the probable cause statement.

Gilbert Grant's second birthday was April 21. Five days later he was dead.

Santiago, Heiden and Bush appeared in Manitowoc County Court Monday for bail hearings. The District Attorney says her office is reviewing the case for formal charges. Those charges could be filed this week.

The defendants are scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Monday, May 6.

A state agency is conducting a Child Protective Services system review of Gilbert Grant's death. A public notification regarding the review was posted on the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website. CLICK HERE for the incident report website.

The Department of Children and Families Division of Safety and Permanence (DSP) conducts reviews when it is notified of a child death, serious injury or "egregious incident" due to maltreatment or suspected maltreatment.

DSP says the Manitowoc County Human Services Department is cooperating with the DSP review.

Manitowoc County Corporation Counsel Peter Conrad tells Action 2 News the investigation is ongoing and the county does not have additional comment at this time.

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PREVIOUS UPDATE

A state agency is conducting a Child Protective Services system review of the death of a two-year-old boy in Manitowoc County.

A public notification regarding the review was posted on the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website. CLICK HERE for the incident report website.

The incident happened on April 26, 2019. A box is checked for "Death/Alleged maltreatment."

Two Rivers Police say they responded to a home on April 26 after someone reported a two-year-old child that was unconscious and not breathing. The child was pronounced dead.

Three people were taken into custody and transported to the Manitowoc County Jail. No names were released.

The Manitowoc County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case for possible charges.

The Department of Children and Families Division of Safety and Permanence (DSP) conducts reviews when it is notified of a child death, serious injury or "egregious incident" due to maltreatment or suspected maltreatment.

DSP says the Manitowoc County Human Services Department is cooperating with the DSP review.

Manitowoc County Corporation Counsel Peter Conrad tells Action 2 News the investigation is ongoing and the county does not have additional comment at this time.

Action 2 News will update the story as we get more information.



 
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