Autopsy reveals whipping caused 8-year-old to bleed to death
An 8-year-old south side girl who died Sunday was whipped to death by her mother's boyfriend, who was putting the child through "boot camp training" to keep her in line, according to a criminal complaint issued Tuesday.
Nichelle L. Jones bled to death from a belt whipping to the buttocks administered by the live-in boyfriend after she rose in the middle of the night and made her way to the kitchen for "sweets and some Kool-Aid," according to the complaint.
Trenton E. White, the complaint says, spotted the girl in the kitchen and asked her what she was doing. She initially replied, "Nothing."
"We can stop this if you tell the truth," White told the girl, according to the complaint.
After the girl offered the same response, according to the complaint, White thrashed her hands with a belt for lying, prompting her to say that she was after the sweets. White then led her to his bedroom, had her lie on his bed and whipped her with the belt on her buttocks, "with powerful strikes, with a lot of force," the complaint says.
"White said he then had Nichelle do push ups, knee bends, leg presses," according to the complaint, "and had her run in the house."
A little over four hours later, according to the complaint, after White and the girl's mother ineffectively tried to ease her suffering, help was finally summoned, but the girl was pronounced dead five minutes after arriving at St. Mary's Hospital.
An autopsy subsequently showed she bled to death from the whipping. It also disclosed a variety of other injuries, including bruising and abrasions to her extremities and chest.
White, 31, was charged in the complaint with first-degree reckless homicide and was being held in the Milwaukee County Jail Tuesday night.
The dead girl's mother also admitted administering corporal punishment with the belt and her hand "hard enough to make her cry, but not to leave any marks," according to the complaint. The mother, the complaint says, also said she witnessed White whipping the girl with the belt about 10 times in recent weeks.
The mother also was being held in the County Jail Tuesday night. Prosecutors are expected to continue their review of her actions today.
White and the woman, who had been living together about four years, were taken into custody Sunday after the girl died.
The complaint provided the following details:
Nichelle was fatally injured in her lower flat, in the 2600 block of S. 7th St., late Saturday night while White was home alone with her and her mother was out to pick up a video rental.
White said the girl began acting up in school about three weeks ago, the complaint says.
"White said that he decided to start 'boot camp training' for Nichelle because he thought that might be good for her. White said that he would have Nichelle do push ups, lift weights and have her go outside to run.
"Because Nichelle seemed to prefer whoopings to the boot camp training, he made Nichelle continue the boot camp," the complaint says.
The complaint continues that after inflicting the fatal whipping and having the girl perform a variety of calisthenics indoors around 11 p.m. Saturday, he took her outside to "run with him for about 30 minutes in order to make Nichelle understand that she had to listen and be truthful."
When the girl expressed discomfort, overheating and exhaustion to her mother in the early morning hours Sunday, she tried taking the girl's temperature and had her take a shower. But the thermometer didn't work, the girl became chilled and eventually began vomiting.
After she stopped breathing, shortly before 4 a.m., paramedics were summoned.
To report child abuse, call the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, at (414) 220-SAFE. For a domestic violence crisis, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE.
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