Justice for Wilder: Family seeks answers in toddler’s death

Local News

The Wichita Falls Police Chief Manuel Borrego said the police department is doing its due diligence when it comes to the child death investigation of Wilder McDaniel.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner Jeffrey Barnard said the autopsy results are complete and should be released to the Wichita Justice of the Peace soon.

During Thursday morning’s special briefing, Borrego did not take any questions from reporters but spoke for about three minutes about the police investigation. When Wilder’s body was found at a home on Irving Place on Oct. 11, Borrego said it was investigated as a homicide like all child death cases. 

According to Borrego, the Detective Division and Crime Scene Technicians were on scne and did a search of the home, collected all possible evidence and interviews the individuals who were in the home. 

“This is an open investigation and it’s an active investigation. We’ve been working this since the day it happened,” Borrego said. “We understand the pain that the family is going through. Any time there’s a death of a toddler, it’s very tragic. We take this seriously this investigation is being done as diligently and as professionally as it can be done because we want to get to a conclusion that’s going to resolve what happened that day.” 

Wilder’s father, Bubba McDaniel, said when he heard about the briefing he hoped that some questions would be answered.

“To think that I had already known everything they were going to say in the first place and from the way it looked they’re not going to say anything anyway. So, I expected something but also nothing and that’s what I got was nothing,” McDaniel said. 

With questions still left to be answered, Borrego said there’s not much they can do until the autopsy results are sent from Dallas County, something McDaniel said can be frustrating.

“I would love to know what actually happened. The thing though is I believe that that’s not going to come to me for a long time and it sucks,” McDaniel said.

Just 11 days after the death of Wilder, detectives conducted an evidentiary search on the home on Irving Place of James Staley and Borrego said they are doing everything they can with the evidence taken.

“The property taken from the house as evidence has been sent to the lab for forensic results. We do not have that also, so right now what we have is we have our initial investigation. We’ve gone out, we’ve collected evidence, we’ve talked to people. That evidence has been sent off to the lab,” Borrego said.

While waiting on results to return, McDaniel said he wants the public to keep Wilder’s name alive and hopes to keep pushing forward in this investigation.

“Just continue to support the ‘Justice for Wilder’ page and keep asking questions, keep pushing forward. Anything that they can get, we want them to have all the answers and we want to make sure that somebody is prosecuted,” McDaniel said.

Until then, the McDaniel family can only wait. Anxiously wait. Not only for some closure but for justice for Wilder.

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