Texas couple arrested in connection to boy's death


Associated Press

Posted on December 29, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 30 at 6:04 PM

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A 5-year-old San Antonio boy whose father and stepmother were arrested in connection with his death had only been in the couple's custody for six months, according to details released Saturday.

Charleston Williams, 25, and Crystal Williams, 27, took custody of Josiah Williams after his biological mother went to prison. The two now face charges of felony injury to a child. It was not immediately known if either has a lawyer.

Josiah was found unresponsive at the family's home Thursday and had two black eyes, bruises and cuts all over his body, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. He also had gashes inside his lips and showed signs of "prolonged malnutrition," the affidavit said. The boy weighed 38 pounds, the San Antonio Express-News (http://bit.ly/Uey4DB ) reported Saturday.

The cause of death was still pending Saturday.

Charleston Williams told police he beat Josiah with a belt and placed him in a "time out" closet, but said his injuries were from accidental falls. The affidavit said the father "was adamant that to the best of his knowledge (Josiah) was never struck in the head by anybody in the household." He said the boy had been refusing to eat since moving in with them.

Crystal Williams said Josiah had fallen several times that week, including once when he "threw himself to the floor and struck his head" because he was protesting being put in timeout. She said Josiah had been eating regularly and she didn't know why he was losing weight.

"I don't know what happened, I love my kids," Crystal Williams said as she was arrested Friday.

San Antonio police spokeswoman Sandy Gutierrez said the couple was arrested without incident.

"The medical examiner said there were signs of serious abuse, malnutrition and neglect," Gutierrez said. The bruising indicated "multiple falls in recent days," she said, but the parents did not seek medical treatment.

"We just didn't think it was that bad," Charleston Williams said Friday as police led him away.

Child Protective Services took custody of the couple's other two children, a 2-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, Gutierrez said.

Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman John Lennan said the agency was conducting a joint investigation with police.

In 2008 and 2009, the agency had investigated Josiah's biological mother for neglect. But those investigations did not include his father. After the second investigation, the mother was offered services through the agency and she placed Josiah with another relative, who was not his father, Lennan said.

He said the agency had not been involved with the family again until Thursday.

Neighbors said the father, stepmother and children had rented and moved into their house about a year ago, but that the children were seldom seen. On Friday, the home was decorated with red and green tinsel.

Across the street, neighbor Sandra Cortes said she never saw anything out of the ordinary. She said sometimes she would wave at the father and he wouldn't wave back. She also recalled hearing the woman at the house speak loudly to the children, such as when she told them to close the door.

Cortes told the Express-News she last saw the family on Halloween, when two of the children were dressed in costumes and a third was in a stroller.


Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com