WARSAW — A Claypool man received a suspended sentence after failing to report that his stepson had been severely abused.
Travis Wayne Tillotson, 39, 1359 W. CR 800S, Claypool, was charged with neglect of a dependent, a level 6 felony. He was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court 1 on Thursday, Feb. 27.
Jammy Stacy, Elkhart; Fayette Robinette, Etna Green; and Annette Priestley, White Pigeon, Mich., are also facing neglect charges in this case.
Tillotson is the second of the five defendants to be sentenced in this case. Rune Springer, the child’s mother, received a 2 1/2 year suspended sentence on Thursday, Feb. 13.
According to court documents, on March 2, 2018, officers with the Nappanee Police Department responded to a report of a child in need of service at 1200 N. Main St. Apartment 103, Nappanee, and discovered a young boy who was injured and in need of medical attention.
Springer said that she did not cause the injuries to the child, as he had been in Stacy’s care for about a year. According to Springer, on March 1, 2018, Stacy and Priestley dropped the child off at Springer’s residence with visible injuries all over his body. Springer said she didn’t initially call the police because Stacy told her not to, as they would both be arrested for child abuse.
Tillotson, the child’s stepfather, was shocked to see the child’s injuries and wanted to get him medical treatment, but Springer convinced him not to.
The child had multiple pieces of his scalp missing, ranging from 1/2 inch to 2 inches. The septum of his nose had been cut out, and what appeared to be fingernail marks were dug into his left cheek and scabbed over. Both of the child’s arms were broken in multiple places and his arm sockets were broken to the point where the child was unable to raise his hands over his shoulders.
His teeth were broken from trauma and his lower lip had been cut. The child was also underweight and malnourished. A doctor at an area hospital said if the child didn’t receive treatment at that point, he would have died within 48 hours.
In October 2017, Springer had taken the child to Stacy to live with her.
During court proceedings, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz said both Springer and Tillotson were unequipped to properly care for the child due to Springer’s severe mental illness and Tillotson’s work schedule.
“During the time the child was living with Jammy, Travis had no contact with the child,” said Voelz. “Jammy and Annette convinced both Rune and Travis to not take the child to the doctor because they said he’d been taken to one already. His appearance and condition were heartbreaking. And despite what they were told, they both called police after a day. There’s no evidence that either of them harmed the child, but Travis has to answer for not immediately responding. He has been cooperative throughout this entire investigation and I am confident that he will continue to cooperate, especially in the upcoming jury trials.”
Voelz also mentioned that Tillotson has a minor criminal history but that he would be extremely unlikely to ever commit another crime like this.
“I agree with a lot of the things Mr. Voelz has shared,” said Defense Attorney Dana Leon. “Travis has been cooperative from start to finish, but what I think is really important to share is that he cooperated in order to make sure the child was known about and spoken for.”
“I wasn’t thinking and I was scared,” said Tillotson. “You’ll never see me in court again unless it’s to help the prosecutor.”
Judge David Cates gave Tillotson a 1 1/2 year suspended sentence in this case.
Stacy and Robinette both currently have three-day jury trials scheduled in this case, which will both take place in April.
Priestley also has a three-day jury trial scheduled for this case, which will take place in June.