On Saturday, October 19, 2013, at 6:38 p.m., a call was received at the Lee County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Communications Center about a three year old child who was unresponsive. Deputies and emergency medical responders were dispatched as CPR was being performed at 13798 River Forest Drive in Fort Myers. The young boy was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased 40 minutes later.
Due to the nature of the incident. detectives with the Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit were assigned to investigate. Preliminary details of the events leading up to the report of the medical emergency were obtained from the three adults who were home at the time. Accounts were of the child, Michael Lee McMullen, having behavioral issues and put down for a mid-afternoon nap. When 45 year old Donella Trainor went to wake Michael, she found him sweating profusely and unable to revive him. Trainor and the youth's grandmother, Gale Watkins, age 56, performed CPR till the deputies, firefighters and emergency medical technicians arrived.
An autopsy was performed by the District 21 Medical Examiner and the investigation continued. On Tuesday, October 22nd, follow up interviews with Trainor, Watkins and 21 year old Douglas Garrigus were conducted. New details were revealed and a horrific death of the child documented. Trainor had developed a method of discipline referred to as a "wrap." She would literally roll a child in a blanket and tie the ends down so as to prevent movement or escape.
On Saturday, Trainor did the "wrap" as she had done in the past. As she laid Michael into a crib, face down, he screamed and pleaded to be released. She assured him he would if he calmed down. Shortly thereafter, the grandmother entered the room and felt the knot on the blanket was too tight. She instructed Trainor to loosen the knot, but did not stay to see it completed as she left to take a nap. The child continued to struggle as noted by the third caretaker, Garrigus, who entered after about an hour and urged the boy to calm down. At one point, he could hear Michael crying and hyperventilating.
In the meantime, Trainor noticed the knot had loosened, so she re-tightened it and placed pillows around the sides of the crib and on Michael's legs. When he stopped crying and screaming, she assumed he had calmed down and would rest. Later, when she went to wake and release him, she found him soaking wet and unresponsive.
On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, the medical examiner officially ruled the death a homicide. Detectives have charged all three of the adults with single counts of Aggravated Manslaughter of Child, a first degree felony. Trainor was additionally charged with Aggravated Abuse of a Child for the willful torture, malicious punishment or willful and unlawfully caging of Michael McMullen.
The accused have been booked into the Lee County Jail. Their inmate photos and additional information are available on the Sheriff's Office website at www.sheriffleefl.org under the Arrest Search tab on the home page.
Media inquiries are directed to Public Information Officer at (239) 477-1340.