A judge has found a mother guilty of several charges after her 6-year-old child was found “severely malnourished” in Harvard in 2020 and doctors said he was possibly days from death.
The Harvard Police Department and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) responded on November 17, 2020, to the 100 block of Shawnee Lane for a well-being check.
Police officials said at the time that officers responded to assist DCFS in a child neglect investigation.
Officers learned that a young child had been taken to Mercy Hospital in Walworth, Wisconsin, and was severely malnourished, police officials said.
The child was later transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for further treatment.
The child’s parents, Margaret A. Wisner, 51, and William S. Wisner, 43, were both charged in December 2020 with aggravated domestic battery, reckless conduct causing great bodily harm and child endangerment.
A criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court said 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, the complaint said.
Prosecutors later filed numerous additional charges against the couple.
A total of 12 charges of aggravated battery, child endangerment, aggravated domestic battery and reckless conduct were filed against each of them.
Some of the charges were Class X felonies, which are the most serious felonies in Illinois besides murder.
In April 2019, Margaret Wisner created a GoFundMe account 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.
At the time of the couple’s arrest, McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Ken Hudson said that when the mother took her 6-year-old son to the 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.
Hudson said 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.
Hudson also said that doctors reported the child was possibly days from death when they first saw him.
Margaret Wisner and William Wisner have been out on $90,000 bonds since shortly after their arrests.
A bench trial began last month in Margaret Wisner’s case and lasted four days.
McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge announced his verdict in the case last week.
The judge found Margaret Wisner guilty of three counts of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony. She was found not guilty on the other charges.
Margaret Wisner remains out of custody awaiting her sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for November 30.
The case against William Wisner remains pending and he is scheduled to appear in court for a status of trial hearing on December 1.