For the first time, we are learning what happened to 8-year old Robert Manwill, and the details coming out of the indictments are very disturbing. This week, Robert's mother and his mother's boyfriend were arrested and each charged with first-degree murder.
Melissa Jenkins, 30, and Daniel Ehrlick, 36, had their first court appearance in Boise Wednesday morning, at which time graphic details surrounding Robert's death were read in court.
According to this grand jury indictment, it was not an isolated event that killed this little boy, but rather the tragic conclusion of prolonged abuse. Specifically, the grand jury said Ehrlick killed the boy by beating him - not just once, but over the course of the boy's summer visit to his mother's apartment. The indictment says Melissa Jenkins, did nothing to stop it. Not only that - it says she allegedly hid the abuse from those who could have helped Robert.
You may recall, during Robert's disappearance - Jenkins and Ehrlick were there at the news conferences with other concerned family members, wearing t-shirts and green ribbons in show of support for finding Robert. Now, investigators say they may have known where Robert Manwill was the entire time. Before his body was found in the New York Canal on August 3rd, police and the FBI spent two days searching his mother's apartment and collecting evidence. But, we still don't know what they found - or the cause of death.
We must keep in mind, Jenkins and Ehrlick are presumed innocent until proven GUILTY. Their fate will be decided in the legal system.
The couple is due back in court September 1 to enter a plea. The prosecutor has 60 days to decide if he wants to pursue the death penalty.
Over 2,000 people in our community participated in a massive search effort for this little boy. (You might be one of them.) On my Facebook page this morning, I've been getting a lot of feedback about the arrests. We haven't seen the evidence against this couple yet, but some people are angry, others are frustrated and want answers.