Mother and Two Roommates Accused of Abusing Toddler to Death

May 1, 2019 Updated: May 1, 2019

A mother and her two roommates faced allegations of abusing a toddler to death, in a Wisconsin court on April 29.

Mother Rena Santiago, who lived in a Two Rivers apartment with Bianca Bush and David Heiden, has admitted that all three abused Gilbert A. Grant II., 2, for about eight months, according to a cause statement obtained by Action News 2.

Documents filed at Manitowoc County Court reveal the adults had attacked Grant using several “weapons” for “physically disciplining” him, including an open hand, a belt, shoe, plastic toy, remote control, and water bottles. This left him with bruises to the head, legs, back, feet, and arms.

Heiden admitted in the court document to pushing Grant so he would fall over and forcefully shaking and yelling at the child to go to sleep.

“[The] defendant said shortly after that the victim was quiet, still, and looked to be sleeping with his eyes open,” the document said. “He thinks the shaking is what killed the victim because of the force he used.”

Other forms of alleged abuse include Santiago shoving her fingers down Grant’s throat to force feed him, making him eat his own vomit, and shaking him violently.

More information on the alleged abuse of a 2-year-old in Two Rivers. The mother and two roommates were arrested April 27th.

Posted by WFRV Local 5 on Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bush confirmed in the document she rents the apartment and allowed Santiago to perform sexual acts in exchange for money in the same bedroom Grant was sleeping in. Bush would also help set prices for Santiago’s services.

Santiago admitted she smoked marijuana while Grant was in the apartment, according to the document. She also said she flushed drugs down the toilet before police arrived on scene when Grant was not breathing on April 26 and was pronounced dead soon after. It was just five days after his second birthday.

Posted by Two Rivers Police Department on Monday, April 29, 2019

The mother allegedly told police she knew about Grant’s visible bruises and explained she did not take him to a doctor for checkups for that reason. She also admitted to witnessing all the boy’s “physical discipline” and “approved of it.”

Santiago, Heiden, and Bush appeared in court for bail hearings where bond was set at $100,000 for each person. The District Attorney said her office is still reviewing the case for formal charges, which could be filed before the end of the week. The charges are widely expected to include child abuse, prostitution, and drug use.

Three people are accused of beating, torturing, and killing a toddler in Two Rivers. One of the accused is the toddler's mother.

Posted by NBC26 on Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The trio are next scheduled to make an initial court appearance on May 6.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families is conducting a Child Protective Services system review of Grant’s death. A public notification regarding the review was posted online. The department confirmed the Manitowoc County Human Services Department is cooperating with the review.

The department’s division of safety and permanence conducts reviews when it is informed of a child’s death, serious injury, or “egregious incident” due to suspected maltreatment.

DEATH INVESTIGATION: Two Rivers Police say they responded to a home on April 26 after someone reported a two-year-old child that was unconscious and not breathing.

Posted by News 9 WAOW on Monday, April 29, 2019

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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