Extended family says woman accused of starving baby to death ‘not a monster’

ST. LOUIS – Fox 2/News 11 learned the woman accused of starving her baby son to death in Bridgeton this week was the alleged victim of domestic abuse 16 days earlier.

Makayla Hill, 25, was charged with abuse or neglect of a child resulting in the death of 2-month-old Samuel Williamson Jr.

The boy’s father, 25-year-old Samuel Williamson, was in jail at the time of the boy’s death. He’s been charged with felony domestic abuse for allegedly beating Hill and leaving her face swollen on August 17.

Samuel Williamson Sr.’s mother flat out denied the allegation against him.

The couple’s loved ones said there was just no way Hill would hurt her child.

“She is not a monster,” said Felecia Gladney, who is the great aunt of the father, Samuel Williamson, Sr. “I want our babies back. We can’t get the one that’s lost but I want to fight for Makayla. I will be Makayla’s voice,” she said, sobbing.

Hill and Williamson moved to St. Louis along with their baby daughter, Riley, last year after living in Texas and Tennessee.

Riley will turn 2 in November. She remains in the care of state authorities. Her baby brother, Samuel Jr., was born in June.

There was a gender-reveal party months earlier. It was the last time the extended family got together, Gladney said.

“When Makayla heard she was having a son she threw her arms up in the air and was so graciously happy to be having a little boy,” Gladney said.

So, the mug shot and the news that came it earlier this week, stunned them.

Police responded to a Bridgeton hotel where Hill was living with her children. The little boy died from severe malnutrition, authorities said.

Gladney was unaware the children’s father was jailed for allegedly beating Hill at a motel near Crestwood, his last known address.

Hill was isolated and cut off from her family in Tennessee, loved ones said.

“I looked at her as a younger sister…she was a sweet young lady … Makayla Hill is not going to be the first person, she’s not going to be the last person, that goes through things like that,” said Williamson’s cousin (Gladney’s daughter), Talisha Murphy, herself a victim of domestic violence. “If we as young women in this community don’t speak up, we’re going to continue to have this epidemic.”

“[Hill] is not a murderer. She loved and waited for that baby. We don’t celebrate loss. We celebrate life,” Gladney said. “I’ll go the whole mile to stop this type of abuse. It just didn’t start with her losing that baby.”

Gladney and Murphy run an organization called Pillow Talk Parent-Teen Organization with a goal of stopping domestic bullying and abuse while coming to the aid of its victims.

The family has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for Hill’s legal defense.