A Harvard mother who was charged after her 6-year-old child was found severely malnourished and “days from death” had her bond reduced by more than half on Tuesday. Both parents are now out of jail.
Margaret A. Wisner, 48, and William S. Wisner, 40, were both charged with aggravated domestic battery, reckless conduct causing great bodily harm and child endangerment.
Margaret Wisner appeared in bond court on Tuesday and her attorney, William Bligh, argued for a bond reduction.
McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge granted the reduction and reduced the woman’s bond from $200,000 to $90,000 despite prosecutors’ objection to lowering it.
Assistant State’s Attorney Ken Hudson said that when Wisner took her 6-year-old son to a hospital in Walworth, Wisconsin, he weighed 32 pounds, the Northwest Herald reported.
While the boy was in the hospital, he lost some water weight and weighed in at 27 pounds, which is close to the size of a 2-year-old or 3-year-old, the Herald reported.
Wisner claimed her son was a “finicky eater” and would only eat Cheez-It crackers. She also claimed she did not bring him in for care sooner because she was afraid of COVID-19, the Herald reported, citing Hudson.
Hudson said that during the same timeframe she made posts on social media showing herself attending large poilitical rallies without a mask and she had been to a hospital for her own health issues.
Hudson also said that doctors reported to him that the child was possibly within days of death when they first saw him.
“[This is] an extreme case of parental malfeasance and neglect. She has been uncooperative and dishonest,” Hudson said, the Herald reported.
The Harvard Police Department and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) responded around 2:26 p.m. November 17 to the 100 block of Shawnee Lane for a well-being check.
Harvard Deputy Police Chief Tyson Bauman said officers responded to assist DCFS in a possible child neglect investigation.
Police learned that the 6-year-old child had been taken to Mercy Hospital in Walworth, Wisconsin, and was severely malnourished, Bauman said.
A criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court alleges Margaret Wisner and William Wisner caused their 6-year-old “to become severely malnourished after failing to provide adequate nutrition and medical care.”
The neglect reportedly went on for approximately two years.
Margaret Wisner was taken into custody on December 10 after a warrant had been issued for her arrest and William Wisner was taken into custody the following day.
The couple have two other children. The 6-year-old is in DCFS custody along with the couple’s second youngest child. Their older child is in the care of Margaret Wisner’s father.
Margaret Wisner created a GoFundMe account in April 2019 titled “help the Wisner family” saying that she had cervical cancer.
The post detailed her medical journey and mentioned her three children, who she said at the time were ages 21, 11, and 5.
Wisner said in the post that her oldest son and youngest son both have autism and that her middle son has Aspergers Syndrome.
The Northwest Herald reported that Wisner also created a GoFundMe account on November 2, claiming that her child has special needs and has become a “victim of CPS.” The campaign has since been deactivated.
Margaret Wisner and William Wisner have both been released from the McHenry County jail after posting bail.