SC Couple Arrested For Allegedly Failing To Intervene In Woman’s Fatal Beating, Newborn’s Death
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Other arrests were made in connection with the investigation into the murder of a South Carolina woman and her newborn son.
Tyler Wilkins, 21, remains in custody for the kidnapping and murder of his estranged girlfriend, Clarrissa Michelle Winchester, 22, on November 9 and for neglecting the couple's newborn son after his recent birth, which resulted in the baby's death. Greenville County investigators believe Wilkins beat Winchester to death at a home of his relatives in Marietta, South Carolina -- about 15 miles north of Greenville in the state's northwest region.
Winchester died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck while the baby's cause of death is still pending.
According to her obituary, Winchester had already named the child Grayson.
On Monday, Greenville County officials announced the arrests of two of Wilkins' relatives: Michael Thomas Burnett, 43, and Melissa Michelle Burnett, 49, who "were at the home at the time of the brutal attack that resulted in Winchester's death" and " failed to act, call 911 or otherwise provide assistance," said a warrant obtained by NBC Myrtle Beach affiliate WMBF-TV.
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Both Burnetts are accused of doing nothing while listening to Winchester beg for their lives for around two hours.
It remains unclear how the Burnetts are related to Wilkins, though both were charged with embezzlement in a felony on Saturday and committed to the Greenville County Detention Center.
The search for Winchester began after parents Melinda and Michael Winchester became concerned when they could not reach their daughter on the morning of Nov. 9, according to CBS Spartanburg affiliate WSPA-TV.
A Police Handout by Tyler Wilkins
Tyler Wilkins Photo: Greenville County Sheriff's Office
"We tried calling her. Melinda tried calling her from 7:30am but we just never got an answer,” said Mr Winchester. "We tried to call [Wilkins'] phone, [and] it rang a couple of times and did the same thing, so we just thought they were asleep in bed."
"And after a while his phone went straight to voicemail," he continued. "Hers rang throughout the process and just never got an answer and we know that just wasn't Clarrissa and that's not our relationship with her."
The concerned parents reported around 8:30 p.m. that Winchester - who they say was seven months pregnant - was missing, according to the sheriff's office. Michael Winchester said he first looked for Wilkins at a house on Saw Mill Road, the same street listed as the Burnetts' address.
"We decided to check on her," Mr Winchester told WSPA-TV reporters. “I went to his door and I could tell straight away that something was wrong. He went back to his house. closed his door and we immediately called the police and they came right out and it all started to unfold."
Handouts by NCMEC's Melissa Hightower
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"We didn't know she was home," Mr. Winchester continued. "He beat her to death mercilessly."
Inside, authorities eventually found Winchester's body, "along with a lifeless fetus," according to the sheriff's office.
Investigators initially charged Wilkins with unlawful conduct toward a child after learning "that he had failed to see a doctor for the recently born fetus," authorities said.
Kidnapping and murder allegations were added the next day following further investigation.
"The baby would have meant... meant everything to us," said Mr. Winchester. “We had bought and waited patiently to meet this little boy. We were deprived of the opportunity to become g-paw and g-maw.”
Wilkins has a long criminal record, including charges of drug manufacture and possession and receiving stolen goods dating back to 2021.
Based on a December 8, 2021 incident, Wilkins was also charged with two counts of attempted murder, domestic violence aggravated and aggravated, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, pointing an armed weapon at an individual, threatening the life of an officer, spraying bodily fluids on an officer, and resisting the Arrest.
A police handout from missing Mrs. Jorden Nebling
Jorden Nebling Photo: Greenville County Sheriff's Office
Michael Winchester told WSPA-TV that the December charges stemmed from an incident in which Wilkins allegedly fired a gun at him and Clarrissa Winchester. Mr Winchester said they were "trying to work through the event" by practicing forgiveness.
Mr Winchester added that his daughter "thought she could save him" and "didn't want to give him up," despite red flags from Wilkins, whom Mr Winchester described as "controlling, manipulative and mentally abusive." ”
The latest charges against the Burnetts are the latest in a twisted investigation into Wilkins, who was reportedly in a relationship with 19-year-old Jorden Nebling when she disappeared from Traveler's Rest, South Carolina sometime around October 10, 2020.
No one has seen Nebling since then.
Nebling's stepmother, Mary Tucker, said Tyler was the last person to see Nebling alive, according to Fox Greenville affiliate WHNS.
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"The car broke down and she had to pick someone up," Tucker told reporters. "Tyler is the one who picked her up. He told the detectives and he said she went away and he didn't know where she went."
Wilkins was not charged in connection with Nebling's disappearance.
On Saturday night, Winchester's relatives appeared in a courtroom where Michael and Melissa Burnett were appearing before a judge for the first time, according to WCBD-TV, an affiliate of NBC Charleston.
"Our whole family has been devastated by this," Mr Winchester said in court. "Our daughter had a big heart and was kind to everyone."
The judge posted bail of $20,000 for each suspect, though both have since posted bail and have been released from prison, according to the sheriff's office.
Tyler Wilkins continues to be held without bail, according to prison records reviewed by Oxygen.com.
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