Charges Filed in Fergus Falls Child Death Case
The child had numerous signs of abuse
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Charges have been filed against Bobbie Bishop and Walter Wynhoff in connection with the death of a 6-year old boy.
Some of the details may be disturbing.
Bishop and Wynhoff each face five felony charges, including second degree murder, three counts of manslaughter, and one count of malicious punishment of a child.
“This one’s unfortunate. Very disturbing,” said Michelle Eldien, the prosecuting attorney.
Police reports state that Bishop took the child to the hospital when he was unresponsive. He had injuries from head to toe, including marks that looked like came from a type of restraint.
His body was dealing with overwhelming infection and had wounds that appeared to be in different stages of healing.
“Some of the answers, even autopsies and things take time, as well as for the testing, so we may not have those answers for weeks, if not a month,” Eldien said.
According to police reports, Bishop indicated the child was regularly disciplined with spankings, belts, and duct tape.
Wynhoff was said to have slapped the child so hard a tooth came out, and later two pieces of wood were found that tested positive for blood.
Eldien says that because of Bishop and Wynhoff’s past behavior, she requested the court to set their unconditional bail at $2 million.
“In this type of case, we’re talking about first off, public safety concerns. We have a deceased child. From what I have in the complaint, a lengthier term of abuse. Those concerns about whether they would harm anyone else should they be released,” she said.
The child was not enrolled in school, so people may not have seen the signs.
“This one it sounds like they weren’t on the radar necessarily. For many reasons, schooling, whatever it is. So that’s the tough part if kids are more protected behind the scenes than we’d like them to be,” Eldien said.
Wynhoff and Bishop’s attorneys say the defendants have connections to the community, but the prosecutors say they’ve been in the area for less than a year.
Bishop is said to have received the child and another 6-year old boy from their guardian in Montana. So far, it’s unclear what relationship she had with the children.
The other child has been taken into protective custody.