ALTON, Ill. — Gena Wilson was devastated the night of March 26. Her van was parked in a friend’s driveway. She ran inside to use the bathroom. When she came outside, her van was gone. Her baby was still inside the vehicle.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert. Several hours later, a stranger, who drove to Alton to help with the search, discovered baby Ghyadi. She told investigators the child was face down in a ditch and in an isolated area of the city.
“He was thrown in a ditch and left to die,” said Wilson.
Earlier this month, the 15-year-old charged in the case entered a guilty plea as an adult. The teen was charged with aggravated battery and motor vehicle-related offenses.
Wilson said she is upset the deal resulted in time served and probation. She does not feel the punishment is justice for putting her child’s life at risk.
“He’s a baby,” she said. “He couldn’t fend for himself.”
A statement from Philip P. Lasseigne, spokesman for the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, reads:
“This was a serious case with a child put in danger and a juvenile defendant, presenting unique considerations.
We understand that no disposition will heal the trauma that this case caused the victims here. But, as we do in every case, our team of victim advocates and prosecutors from the Children’s Justice Division made every attempt to correspond and consult with the mother/victim in this case prior to any disposition.
Our considerations were the following: Previously as a juvenile, the defendant’s identity was confidential. Because of the facts of the case, our office determined there was a very real possibility that the juvenile defendant would not be certified as an adult and any juvenile adjudication (it would not even technically a conviction) would then be sealed going forward.
We wanted to make sure the defendant’s terrible actions, even though he is only 15, would leave a permanent mark on his adult record. Therefore, with this guilty plea, the defendant – who we can now identify as Don Miller – agreed to multiple adult felony convictions. He was incarcerated over 7 months on these charges, and will now be on probation for 3 years.”
Wilson said she feels the punishment is too light and communication was poor. She’s grateful her son is okay but worries about any long-lasting effects.
“I honestly think he had night terrors for a while,” said Wilson. Her son will turn one this month.