Share This Page

Florida boy, 3, suffocates in 'wrap'

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 7:03 p.m.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Manslaughter charges were filed against three people accused of killing a 3-year-old Florida boy by wrapping him tightly in a blanket and tying the ends as a form of discipline, a Lee County Sheriff's lieutenant said on Wednesday.

Defendant Donella Trainor, a friend of the boy's grandmother, told investigators she had disciplined her own grandchildren that way, using a technique all three adults knew as “the wrap,” Lt. Larry King said.

He said she pinned the boy's arms to his side and rolled him in a king-sized blanket.

“There were six layers of cloth over this child. The loose ends would be folded over his head and feet and tied into a knot, all in an effort to prevent the child from moving,” King said. “You could use a mummy reference.”

The boy, Michael Lee McMullen, screamed and pleaded to be released as Trainor wrapped him and put him in his crib for a nap on Saturday, the sheriff's report said.

The boy's grandmother, Gale Watkins, 56, and his stepfather, Douglas Garrigus, 21, checked on him at different times as he cried and struggled, the report said.

Trainor returned, found the knot loose and retied it, then put pillows around the child, the report said. She later found him unresponsive and soaked in sweat, it said.

Paramedics took him to a hospital in Fort Myers on Florida's southwest coast where he was declared dead, and the medical examiner classified the death as a homicide. The exact cause was pending, King said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.