Justice of the Peace discusses Wilder McDaniel’s cause, manner of death findings

Local News

While the medical investigation into two-year-old Wilder McDaniel’s death may be over, the police investigation continues. As Texomashomepage has reported, the cause and manner of McDaniel’s death are both listed undetermined by the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office.

We are still awaiting the full autopsy and toxicology report to see if it sheds any light on those findings. Justice of the Peace for Precinct One, Place One Janice Sons is the one who ordered the autopsy after the boy was found dead in a home.

She has been a Justice of the Peace for almost 31 years. One of her responsibilities is making inquests or investigations into matters such as deaths.

“There’s only two people that can do this and that’s medical examiners or justice of the peace,” Sons said. “There’s nothing else that’s allowed.”

Because Wichita County doesn’t have its own medical examiner, Sons is allowed to sign death certificates, as well as order an autopsy to be performed. The Code of Criminal Procedure lists several reasons as to why that has to happen.

“Suicide, homicide, accident or unattended death,” Sons said.

Another is the reason why an autopsy was done in 2-year-old Wilder’s McDaniel’s death.

“Children under six are all required to go,” Sons said. “If it’s not genetic, they’re going [for an autopsy].

Sons also signs-off when she’s received the medical examiner’s findings. In cases like McDaniel’s, Sons said when medical examiners and their team find a cause and manner of death are undetermined, it means they will not assume, suspect or make an educated guess on what the cause of death was. If they did, Sons explained what that would mean.

“If that happened, we would change that entity. We would no longer work with that entity if they suspected something,” Sons said.

When released, the judge said the full autopsy report won’t differ with the medical examiner’s cause of death report, but it may provide police with more clues.

Sons also expects to have full autopsy results in a few weeks.

Check out the full interview we did with Wilder’s father Bubba McDaniel back in October here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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