Skyler Wilson’s foster parents used ‘exorcism’, food restrictions, warrants allege


SURRY COUNTY, NC (WGHP) — New details are emerging in the death of 4-year-old Skyler Wilson.

According to warrants, Joseph Wilsonwho, along with his wife Jodi, is charged in the death of their adopted child Skyler Wilson, received a message from his wife about a “problem” with Skyler’s “swaddle” on January 5th. She also sent a photo of Skyler wrapped in a sheet or blanket face down on the floor of the Wilsons’ living room, taped to the floor.

Skyler Wilson died on January 9th.

According to the warrant, a detective interviewed Skyler’s former foster father and Vance Wilson, also known as Skyler and Vance Bowles, on Jan. 11. According to the warrant, the former foster parent “reported that Jodi Wilson told her about the ‘pouch’, swaddling, restricted eating, Vance Wilson’s refusal to walk on his own, Skyler’s confinement to a room for excessive ‘alone’ time.” , and the exorcism of both children.”

The warrant did not provide further details about the alleged “exorcism.”

The foster mother spoke with a Surry County Social Services caseworker on Dec. 7 out of concern for the children’s safety. She was told to make an official report, which she did the same day. The ruling said the phone records corroborated the time the complaint was filed.

In September 2021, Skyler and Vance Wilson moved in with the Wilson family, and the Wilsons’ two boys “raised” three children.

The warrant alleges that Jodi used techniques obtained from Nancy Thomas, who described herself as “professional therapeutic parents.”

When Nancy Thomas commented on Skyler Wilson’s death, she had this to say:

“I am shocked and saddened to hear the sad news of this little one’s death. Since I don’t know anything about the incident, I can’t comment. I am ready to help law enforcement agencies if they have questions.”

On Jan. 6, while Skyler Wilson was in the hospital, the Surrey County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Department of Human Services.

A sheriff’s office detective spoke with a doctor who explained that Skyler had a hypoxic brain injury, which occurs when oxygen is restricted to the brain. A doctor who had previously spoken to Joseph Wilson told the detective that Skyler’s brain injuries were consistent with “excessive restraints” used during the so-called “wrapping” technique.

Swaddling is a technique used to soothe and help babies sleep with a blanket tightly wrapped around the child’s body. Rolling over during swaddling has been associated with an increased chance of death from SIDS, and swaddling is not recommended for an infant who is old enough to roll over on their own.

The sheriff’s office executed a search warrant at a home on Rosecrest Drive in Mount Airy. While inside the home, they noticed “straps/straps to support wrists and ankles” and cameras in a bag in the basement of the home, Joseph Wilson told the SBI agent and the detective that the straps were to hold Skyler while swaddling her and that Jody Wilson removed the cameras and potentially removed them from their SD cards during the Jan. 5 “incident” with Skyler.

The Wilsons’ home on Rosecrest Drive was searched a second time, looking specifically for SD cards in cameras. They list the following points:

  • Three white CCTV cameras

  • Mueller sports capes

  • Handwritten documents

  • USB storage devices

  • Books

  • SD card from Wii

  • Notebooks and binders

  • Cameras with SD cards

  • 3 tablets from the game room

  • Dell Optiplex 7020 tower with power cord

  • Hitachi laptop
Jodi and Joseph Wilson (Surry County Sheriff’s Office)

On January 13, Joseph and Jody Wilson were charged with the murder of Skyler Wilson and are being held without bail. Their three biological children and one adopted child, Vance, were taken into the care of social services, where they remain.

Skyler’s former foster mother described him as a social butterfly with a big heart.

“He was so tiny and small, but he had a heart three times his size,” she said. “I want to love unconditionally and remember his smile and the little things.”

Nancy Thomas, Attachment Therapy and Retention

According to the Nancy Thomas website, “Nancy Thomas is not a doctor, psychiatrist or therapist. She is a wonderful mom who, through years of searching, learning and experience, has found solutions to raising difficult children.”

Nancy Thomas advocates “attachment therapy” which Described by Psychology Today as “unconventional, untested, and potentially harmful” as a treatment for “reactive attachment disorder.”

In accordance with Mayo Clinic, Reactive Attachment Disorder is “a rare but serious condition in which an infant or young child fails to form a healthy attachment to parents or caregivers. Reactive attachment disorder can develop when a child’s basic needs for comfort, affection, and nurturing are not met and a loving, caring, and stable attachment to others is not established.’ This rare disease primarily affects infants and toddlers, who exhibit symptoms such as lethargy, lack of comfort seeking, or inexplicable withdrawal.

On her website, Nancy Thomas says that for children experiencing RAD, “everyone becomes an enemy. They learn to manipulate, use and abuse people to get what they want. A real child can [have] never seen by anyone but the mother figure on which they vent their deep-rooted (sic) fury.’

Psychology Today distinguishes between “attachment therapy” and “attachment therapy.”

Attachment-based therapy is described in Psychology today examines “the relationship between an infant’s early experience of attachment to primary caregivers, usually the parent, and the infant’s ability to develop normally and ultimately form healthy emotional and physical relationships in adulthood.”

PsychologyToday also notes, “Attachment-based therapy, as described here, should not be confused with unconventional, unproven, and potentially harmful treatments called ‘attachment therapy,’ which include physical manipulation, restraint, deprivation, and activities similar to those in boot camp, or physical discomfort of any kind. These so-called “attachment therapies” were developed in the 1970s as interventions for children with behavioral problems, especially children with autism; they have since been investigated and rejected by mainstream psychology and medicine.’

The “attachment therapy” advocated by Nancy Thomas includes “holding therapy” where a person, or sometimes several people, will forcibly hold the child.

The Daily Beast writes about it that the treatments popularized by this so-called attachment therapy “revolve around asserting complete control by parents over their children through strict rules on the children’s movements and eating habits. Sometimes children are put on a very restricted diet of bland, unappetizing food; appointed hours of pointless, repetitive tasks; forced to sit in one place, facing the wall, for hours on end; and endure ‘retention therapy,’ in which parents or therapists may forcibly restrain children to first induce feelings of anger and powerlessness, then catharsis and acceptance when they finally submit.”

Nancy Thomas’ “Methods of Healing” were covered in the 1990 HBO Documentary Child of Wrath after her experience with her adopted daughter, Beth Thomas, who she claims had RAD. Thomas’ parenting advice was also at the center of an Arkansas state representative case in 2015 who adopted and then relinquished sisters with severe behavioral problemsat one point accusing the girls of being possessed.

In 2000, North Carolina 10-year-old Candace Newmaker was killed under the care of attachment “therapists” in Colorado, and two unlicensed therapists were found guilty of her death.

Newmaker died after being “wrapped in a blanket that represented the womb, the little girl was sat on by four adults until she stopped breathing,” during a process called “resuscitation,” according to a Guardian article published at the time. This inspired Candace’s Law. which bans “rebirth” therapy in Colorado and North Carolina.

The Wilsons are due back in court on February 2. Skyler Wilson’s funeral will be held on Saturday, January 28th.

Skyler Wilson’s foster parents used ‘exorcism’, food restrictions, warrants allege

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