Mom arrested after missing 8-year-old is found dead in a trash bag in the attic

COLUMBUS, OH – An extensive hunt for an 8-year-old boy in Ohio culminated in a devastating discovery, officials report. Columbus Police found the boy deceased in his residence’s attic following allegations that his mother impeded the investigation and fled with her partner.

On Friday, authorities executed a search warrant at a house on Olmstead Avenue after Martonio Wilder was reported missing. Inside, officers discovered Martonio’s body wrapped in a sleeping bag and placed in a trash bag. The Franklin County Coroner ruled the death as a homicide, citing a “deep neck compression” as the cause.

The boy’s mother, 32-year-old LaShanda Delores Wilder, and her 33-year-old partner, Johnna Lowe, are now facing charges; Wilder is accused of murder, and both are charged with obstruction of justice. After temporarily evading police, the couple surrendered on Saturday afternoon.

Before being apprehended, LaShanda Wilder allegedly became obstructive when law enforcement, armed with a cadaver dog to help in their search, arrived. Subsequently, she exited the premises with Lowe and two other children. Authorities issued an Amber Alert and later found the children safe with Lowe’s mother. No information has been released about potential motives for the crime.

Martonio was reported missing early Friday. His mother had initially claimed he was last seen Thursday night when he was put to bed. The search throughout the neighborhood involved drones and extensive police efforts, garnering public attention and creating a sense of urgency to find the young boy.

Family members have been left reeling in the wake of the tragedy. “Martonio was a bright kid. All he wanted was to be loved,” lamented Rachelle Knight, the defendant’s aunt, expressing her disbelief and sorrow over the circumstances.

Both Wilder and Lowe are set to appear in court for arraignment on Monday, where they will face the charges brought against them in connection with Martonio Wilder’s untimely death.