After the death of a 3-year-old boy in Southwest Florida, the state's child welfare chief predicted that adults accused of involvement in a bizarre form of punishment would be punished themselves.
"We are all mourning the tragic death of Michael McMullen," Department of Children and Families Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said in a statement Monday. "In our work with law enforcement, we feel confident that those responsible will spend many years behind bars for the horrible atrocity they committed against this innocent young boy."
According to the Lee County Sheriff's Office, 45-year-old Donella Trainor "had developed a method of discipline referred to as a 'wrap.' She would literally roll a child in a blanket and tie the ends down so as to prevent movement or escape."
Trainor is accused of wrapping the toddler in a blanket Oct. 19 and putting him face down in a crib as he screamed to be released. By the time she went to check on him, he was unresponsive.
Trainor and two other adults in the house, Gale Watkins, 56, and Douglas Garrigus, 21, were charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child. Trainor was also charged with aggravated abuse of a child "for the willful torture, malicious punishment or willful and unlawfully caging of Michael McMullen," according to the sheriff's office.
The child's family was receiving services from child welfare officials at the time, and two caseworkers at the Children's Network of Southwest Florida, which handles foster care for DCF, were fired.