Local News

Parents charged after toddler dies of dehydration

Posted May 28, 2010

— A Wake Forest couple was arrested Thursday in connection with the death of their 17-month-old son, who authorities believe died of dehydration when left alone in a heated room.

Shandu Slaughter, 28, and Kristin Ann Wills, 21, both of 839 N. Franklin St., were charged with involuntary manslaughter. They were placed in the Wake County jail under separate $1 million secured bonds.

Police said that Slaughter put his son, Marcus Isaiah Wills, down for a nap around 2 p.m. on March 20. The toddler was unresponsive when Wills checked on him around 9 p.m.

The medical examiner who conducted an autopsy determined that Marcus had been left unattended in a heated room. Investigators who re-created the scenario found the temperature in the room would have been 97 degrees, the autopsy report states.

It reached 78 degrees in Raleigh that day, according to National Weather Service records.


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  • alexasmill May 28, 2010

    For the ones who still don't get it!

    The girl got a wonderful mother and grand-mother who had been helping to raise these two kids... The "Girl" was the only one working, while he just spend the time screaming at the kids and ponishing them by locking them in the bedroom. He never got a job at his age of 28. She was working all the time. Grandma' and Mother was providing everything to them. Gradma took the kids away from them because they were too sick. Just for one weekend she left the kids to spend his supouse to be last time in the street, because he was going to jail. Well, it did became the last time he saw the baby. While the Girl was working, and the kids was under his care, he never attended them. Now she is acepting what she did wrong... but, he keeps playing the inocent one, when he knows it's more his fault than hers. They both need a ponishment, but, his should spend his life in jail.... he knows what he did, and doens't want to admited.

    Sorry for the family and friends

  • gojr May 28, 2010

    These two look like a child's nightmare!

  • naturegirl May 28, 2010

    If the child was dehydrated then it likely wasn't getting fluids leading up to the nap time.

  • miss Q B May 28, 2010

    help them??? what ever happened to helping yourself. why does it become more impossible for someone to care and love a child today?
    this is some simple common sense here. a nap is not 7 hours UNATTENDED in a HOT room. I've been watching kids since I was 14 yrs old, I had enough sense to check on a napping child periodically. I could not imagine leaving a child down for a nap, for 7 hours. and no one taught me this, it was natural instincts. I guess some people have it and some people don't. that's why some just don't need kids.

    that poor baby...RIP

  • Like that May 28, 2010

    It takes a village to raise a child. Stop pointing fingers because the death of that child was senseless. How many people have you seen with children struggling? Did you try to help or did you look away because it wasn't your problem? The older and wiser generation needs to give these young folks a hand....not a hand out. Help them, teach them, show them, and train them. Stop judging and start caring! It does make a difference!!!

  • wakeresident May 28, 2010

    "Young parents are just that. Young and inexperance in child care. They think they know what's going on but the truth is they do not!"

    Seriously? You think someone who is 10 years older is magically more experienced at child care? Even working in a day care does not prepare you for having your own child. I don't care if you're 50, you're inexperienced at being a parent if you've never been a parent... Sounds like you have a younger relative that doesn't want your advice and you're resentful. If your children turned out well, people want your advice. When they don't, it's a reflection on what they think of your parenting. My best advice comes from older moms, but I definitely am picky about which mom I take it from. The mom with the kid who is a total jerk isn't up on my list, just like the mom whose kid is in jail isn't up there, either. People try to give me advice because they think I'm younger than I am, but I look at their kids and think no thanks.

  • Adelinthe May 28, 2010

    chelsey - "When my two are sleep i have to check on the about 5 times."


    I was a registered nanny for years, and unless the child cried, I rarely checked them until it was time for them to get up. One can stand by the slightly opened door and hear them breathing. No need to go into the room.

    Constantly checking on a child can disturb their sleep, thereby making them cranky and even overly nervous.

    Remember, if you're upset or nervous when handling a child, they can feel that, and they will get upset and nervous too.

    Calm down. It's healthier for you and your children.

    God bless.


  • itsmyownopinion May 28, 2010

    I've noticed that often children "forgotten" and left in cars that became overheated in mere minutes were left by parents who were well educated and upper middle-class to high class financially, with good, but demanding jobs. There was even a case of a social worker leaving a child who died in a car in the NC Mountains.

  • bill0 May 28, 2010

    "i have two kids of my own and what kind of parent lays down there child and not check on them. When my two are sleep i have to check on the about 5 times."

    Checking on your kids 5 times during a nap doesn't make you a good mom - it just means your neurotic. I'm sure your grandma didn't hover over her children like that.

    Frankly, this story doesn't make any sense. A healthy kid won't dehydrate in a couple hours at 90 degrees. Anyone who lived in the south more than 40 years ago didn't have air conditioning and spent every night sleeping in a hot room. They didn't get up every 2 hours for a drink and somehow they all survived.

    There has to be more to this story. Abuse? Longer term neglect?

  • somey May 28, 2010

    kblowe - What about him? A picture, or 2 tell a 1000 words.