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Mom who ‘lacked motivation to feed and care for’ toddler who starved to death charged with murder

Jamie Hannion (Cook County Sheriff's Office)

Jamie Hannion (Cook County Sheriff’s Office)

A 22-year-old mother in Illinois has been arrested for allegedly starving her 19-month-old son to death late last year, claiming she “lacked motivation” to properly care for the toddler.

Jamie Hannion was taken into custody in Tennessee earlier this month and returned to Cook County last week where she is facing one count each of first-degree murder and felony endangering the life of a child in the death of young Nathan Wisdom, who weighed less than 10 pounds at the time of his death, authorities confirmed to Law&Crime.

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, deputies with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 18, 2022, responded to a 911 call about a baby in distress at Hannion’s home located in the 800 block of Victory Lane in incorporated Lyons Township, about 15 miles southwest of Chicago. The caller — later identified as Hannion’s sister — was reportedly taking care of her nephew at Hannion’s request when she went into his room and found the child dead in his crib.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders located the “severely malnourished” child in his bedroom and pronounced him dead on the scene, according to the Tribune. Investigators at the home reportedly said rigor mortis had already set in by the time they arrived, meaning Wisdom had been dead for some time.

Additionally, deputies described Wisdom as being “cold to the touch with blue lips” and covered in his own feces and vomit in a sworn affidavit of probable cause, Chicago Fox affiliate WFLD reported.

The station further reported that a subsequent autopsy performed by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Wisdom’s manner of death was a homicide and his cause of death was “nutritional neglect,” emphasizing that the child’s stomach contents indicated that he had not eaten in approximately three days. Furthermore, Wisdom, who was born weighing 6.6 pounds, weighed only 9.5 pounds at the time of his death.

Court documents obtained by WFLD reportedly state that investigators found plenty of food inside Hannion’s home and emphasized that the multiple cats who also lived in the home were found to be well-fed and healthy.

Following the release of the autopsy report, police in February obtained an arrest warrant for Hannion but learned that she was out of the state, visiting family in Tennessee. She was taken into custody on March 7 and brought back to Illinois on March 23.

During a court hearing on Friday, prosecutors painted a harrowing portrayal of Wisdom’s short life, saying his mother rarely paid any attention to him, would go days without feeding him, and almost never let him out of his crib, according to the Tribune. Additionally, just prior to Wisdom’s death, Hannion reportedly told investigators that she heard the baby “screaming on Saturday but did not check on him once throughout the entire weekend.”

“[Hannion] stated that the screaming eventually stopped, and she just couldn’t be motivated to get up to check on baby Nathan,” prosecutors reportedly said.

When her sister came over to watch Wisdom that Monday, she reportedly found him already dead.

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Per the Tribune, Hannion also told investigators that she was a “bad mother” who “lacked motivation to feed and take care of baby Nathan, and that most of the time she just doesn’t feel like moving and so she cannot get to baby Nathan.”

Hannion is scheduled to appear in court again on April 30.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.