By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Two Cody residents are now facing first-degree murder charges in the death of 2-year-old Paisleigh Williams.
Moshe Williams, 30, and 28-year-old Carolyn Aune are being held on $1 million bond each at the Park County Detention Center. The two were arrested March 31.
Initial charges of felony aggravated child abuse were upgraded to first-degree murder Monday after Paisleigh died at the Children’s Hospital in Colorado on April 4.
According to court documents filed in connection with the charges, the Williams girl died from injuries she sustained as a result of abuse by her guardians.
Paisleigh was admitted to the emergency room of Cody’s West Park Hospital, in an unresponsive state, on March 27. Due to the seriousness of her injuries, Paisleigh was flown to Children’s Hospital in Denver on the same day. She died just over a week later.
Court documents allege that over a course of several months, Paisleigh sustained possible fractures to her left clavicle and ribs, two vertebrae, bruising and scraping on her head, a detached bowel, possible fractures to her hands, swelling of the brain, blunt force trauma, and slight malnourishment.
Moshe Williams has been living with Aune and her three children in a small three-bedroom apartment in Cody since last August. Aune has been the primary caretaker of her children and Williams’ two children. During police interviews, both adults said they did not recognize the seriousness of Paisleigh’s injuries.
Neither Williams nor Aune claimed responsibility for any of the injuries, instead explaining a few of them as accidental trauma inflicted by the girl’s 14-month-old brother.
However, following an autopsy by the Adams County (Colorado) Coroner, officials said that the severity of the injuries, particularly the bowel which was detached in two places, were consistent with child abuse at the hands of adults. In particular, the intestinal injury is consistent with what law enforcement officials called a “gut-punch,” court documents said.
According to the documents, in separate interviews with law enforcement, Williams and Aune appeared to point the finger at each other, each claiming that they did not know the cause of the girl’s injuries, nor why the 2-year old had lost her appetite and began throwing up in the days leading up to her hospitalization.
Williams told officers that he had reached out to friends for help in treating the child for stomach discomfort, purchasing over-the-counter remedies. Williams and Aune both told officers that they had removed one of the children from Paisleigh’s bedroom, thinking that the 9-year-old was accidentally injuring Paisleigh while sleepwalking.
However, each also indicated that the other could be abusing the child.
The two adults were arrested on Wednesday, March 31, and the charges against both were upgraded to first-degree murder on Monday.
Williams and Aune appeared in court before Judge Bruce Waters, who denied the Park County Attorney’s request for the defendants to be held without bail, choosing to maintain the original order for a $1 million cash bond each.
The two defendants will appear next on Friday, April 16th to enter a plea in the charges.