A 17-year-old New York boy is likely to face murder or manslaughter charges in connection with the beating death of a two-year-old boy he was babysitting last Friday, The Buffalo News reported.
Ethan Bigham was on life support for several days after the beating.
He was declared brain dead but kept on life support so his organs could be donated. He was taken off life support on Monday.
“The only good thing that can come of this tragedy is that Ethan can give another child a chance at life,” said April Farnham, the boy’s aunt.
“We’ve been told one Ethan’s organs may go to a child in Texas,” she said.
A family friend, who was at Women & Children’s Hospital this past weekend to offer support to the boy’s relatives, described a gruesome aftermath from the attack.
“Ethan’s entire face was mutilated, he was beaten so badly,” the friend said. “His back is black and blue. We’re told he was not only punched but some type of blunt object was used.”
Ethan Bigham’s paternal grandmother confirms that the 2-year-old suffered catastrophic brain injuries and was pronounced brain dead at Women and Children’s Hospital on Sunday.
“They’re going to have a moment of silence and they’re going to read a special prayer because he’s a little hero, and at least he can help other children,” said Ethan’s grandmother Sue Wiesniewski.
Wiesniewski says her grandson suffered severe bruises, and was black and blue all over his body.
“He’s my little angel,” Wiesniewski said.
According to The Buffalo News, the boy’s mother and her boyfriend were at work when the beating took place. The teenager, who has been charged with assault, was also watching the couple’s 9-month-old son.
Two older siblings were at school at the time of the attack, the paper reported.
“My office is now looking at additional charges,” Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said of the sitter, Devon Vanderewege.
The teen is being held without bail.
What kind of monster could do such a thing?
The cousin of Ethan’s mother added: “He loved life. He was such a good little boy. He was so kind. Our family is destroyed and devastated by this.”
Patricia Scott, a neighbor of Schoepflin and Hart, said the family appeared to be close.
“In the warmer weather, I’ve seen the parents and out with the children playing. The parents seemed very attentive. They were right by their children,” the neighbor said.
Vanderwege is scheduled to return to Marilla Town Court on Thursday.