3 Year Old Dies …
Wrapped In A Blanket
A three-year-old boy wrapped in a blanket for punishment suffered a horrible death at the hands of his caretakers.
When one thinks of their blanket, they usually think of security, especially at a young age. If we were scared, we would hide under the covers until the danger went away. It wouldn’t work realistically, but we were really too young to know better, and we thought we were safe.
However, for three-year-old Michael Lee McCullen, the blanket may have been the cause of his death. His caretakers had wrapped him up in said linen and tied the ends, most likely not realizing that he would end up dead in the man-made cocoon. They said they had done it because he was having behavioral problems.
Donella Trainor, a friend of young McMullen’s grandmother, said she disciplined her own grandchildren that way. As such, she and her fellow caretakers thought nothing of it as they used the idea she called “The Wrap.”
Donella Trainor is the one who’s charged with actually wrapping that child in a blanket. She’s now 45 years old but when she was 23 she was convicted of two counts of felony child abuse in Lansing, Michigan. The details of that are unclear but she served time, was on five years of probation, and was ordered to participate in mental health counseling.
How could DCF leave the child in the care of someone that was found guilty child abuse? DCF refused to answer that question.
Lieutenant Larry King of the Lee County Sheriff‘s Department described the Florida boy wrapped in a blanket, “There were six layers of cloth over this child. The loose ends would be folded over his head and feet and tied into a knot, all in an effort to prevent the child from moving. You could use a mummy reference.”
Sadly, mummies were usually processed like that after they’re dead to preserve them, not wrapped up alive for discipline.
Michael Lee McCullen’s caretakers had wrapped him up, tied the ends of the blanket, and ignored him as he struggled and screamed. Donella Trainor, returned to check on him only to find the knot untied and the blanket loose, so she proceeded to redo the knot and then put pillows around him. The boy was found later unresponsive and covered in sweat. He was pronounced dead in the hospital.
Donella Trainor and her fellow caretakers Douglas Garrigus, and the boy’s grandmother, Gale Watkins, have all been arrested on charges of aggravated manslaughter for the Florida boy wrapped in the blanket.
Douglas Garrigus admitted that during the cruel punishment he could hear young Michael Lee McMullen crying and hyperventilating.
Other children were in the home at the time, and there have been no comments on their current whereabouts. Gale Watkins had the boy placed in her custody after his mother had been involved in domestic violence.
In July, it was reported that the “grandmother, Gale Watkins, was having the children sleep in cages in an attempt to stop them from getting up at night”. The DCF report also said, “although there was large cage observed in the living room (4 feet high by 5 feet wide), the children did not admit that they were kept inside of it”.
Bond was set on Wednesday at $300,000 for Donella Trainor, and $250,000 for the other two involved in the death of the Florida boy wrapped in the blanket.
In a written statement DCF states, “The tragic circumstances around Michael McMullen’s death saddens and infuriates everyone involved in the child welfare system and The Department of Children and Families is currently investigating the senseless death of this little boy.”
Watkins acted as caregiver to Michael and three other children – a 7-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy, according to child support papers filed in Lee County court.
The children’s mother is listed as Samantha Jolene McMullen. Court documents show McMullen lives with Watkins in the River Forest Drive home, in Lee County, where Michael was killed.
Michael’s father was Allan Alberto Pineda-Bautista. Watkins filed a domestic violence injunction against Pineda-Bautista in August, on behalf of Michael and his sister. According to the injunction, Pineda-Bautista has problems with drugs, alcohol and mental illness.
“Mr. Allen has beaten and possibly sexually abused my now 7-year-old grandchild,” Watkins wrote when filing the injunction.
Neither Pineda-Bautista nor McMullen were arrested in Michael’s death.