WEB EXCLUSIVE: WFPD chief delivers Wilder McDaniel investigation update

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Wichita Falls Police Chief Manuel Borrego held a press conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m. to update the community on the investigation of the death of a Wichita Falls 2-year-old child.

“We understand the pain and sorrow that the family is going through,” Borrego said. “Anytime there’s a death of a toddler, it.s very tragic. We take that seriously, and 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.” 

Police officers responded to the call for the death of Wilder McDaniel on Oct. 11.

After the death of Wilder, police conducted a follow- up evidence search on Oct. 22 at the home of James Staley. While Wichita Falls police officers were executing the warrant, a man was seen coming out of the home with his hands in the air. Authorities did not confirm the man was Staley and no one was in custody.

“Our investigations are based on facts and facts alone,” Borrego said. “We don’t go on feelings and thoughts. We have to do this investigation strictly through the facts and evidence that shows itself.”

Although the WFPD cannot reveal any details into the investigation, Borrego said every death of a child is investigated thoroughly.

“All child deaths are investigated as criminal homicides until it otherwise shows to be the case,” Borrego said. “This one from day one has been investigated as a homicide.”We do not have an autopsy result back yet that indicates cause of death, and I can’t tell you when it’s going to get here, but this is an open investigation and it’s an active investigation.”

According to Borego, the WFPD officers have been investigating the situation since the day it happened, and Borrego said he knows the detectives investigating the case have been diligent with their work and officers continue to update the McDaniel family on the information.

“He’s got all the information certainly that I’m going to talk about today, he is aware of. He’s aware that we don’t have an autopsy,” Borrego said. “The day we got the call, our detective division showed up on scene, they did a search of the house, they collected what evidence they felt was necessary at that time. Our crime Scene [Investigation unit] was on scene also. We did a complete investigation on that day one as far as collecting evidence, interviewing those that were in the house and getting what we needed.”

With all the evidence sent off for forensic results and interviews conducted, Borrego said they are “waiting on an autopsy return and everything else.”

“Tthe investigation is continuing on the underground. I will tell you we are in contact with Mr. McDaniel and his family, and we are keeping them apprised in what we can on this investigation,” Borrego said. “We will continue to do that to the end.”

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