Merrill parents facing felony neglect charges in death of one-year-old child
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
MERRILL – The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office arrested two Merrill parents last week after a six-month long investigation into the death of their one-year-old child.
Cody Gene Robertson, 25, was taken into custody in Merrill on the morning of Wednesday, May 19.
Amber Paige Boyd, 22, was arrested after a traffic stop in Merrill later that day.
Both are charged with felony child neglect, causing death.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred last fall.
According to a criminal complaint, the Lincoln County 911 Dispatch Center received a 911 call from Boyd at 1:22 p.m. on Nov. 12, 2020. During the call, Boyd allegedly said “my baby isn’t breathing,” the complaint stated.
Prior to calling 911, Boyd allegedly called a party whose name had been redacted from the complaint. The party told Boyd to call 911.
Boyd allegedly told the dispatcher that she had found the child on the floor near the bathroom “like 5 minutes maybe” before calling 911, and that it “couldn’t have been more than 2 minutes” before she called the party whose name had been redacted.
Law enforcement arrived on the scene on State Highway 64 in Lincoln County at 1:37 p.m., followed by emergency medical services at 1:40 p.m., and a Sergeant Investigator, whose name had been redacted, at 1:51 p.m.
According to the complaint, “numerous bruises” to the child’s face, head, neck, arms, and legs were allegedly observed, as well as a “tan to yellow flakey dried substance” on the child’s neck.
A paramedic allegedly observed “a powdery substance like a makeup concealer” on the child that transferred to the paramedic’s blue gloves. “Makeup or covering” was also allegedly observed around scabs on the child’s neck or chin area and near the middle of the child’s eyebrows, and “makeup, foundation, or concealer in a light coating” were allegedly observed on the child’s face, top of head, and hair.
The child, who was approximately one year and three months old, was pronounced dead at Ascension Good Samaritan Health Center in Merrill by Lincoln County Coroner Paul Proulx after arriving by ambulance.
An autopsy conducted on Nov. 13, 2020 found the child had “acute bronchiolitis and bronchopneumonia.” Evidence of physical abuse was also present, the complaint stated.
“There is a multiplicity of lesions about the body that appear to be acute, subacute, and possibly chronic, based on the color and appearance,” the autopsy is quoted as saying in the complaint. “The distribution is inconsistent with being self-sustained. The lesions about the head are particular concerning, especially the acute frenular injury. Given the multiplicity of wounds, the numeric constellation is estimated at 20-25 lesions to the head, including the face, the left arm approximately 10, the right arm approximately 8, the chest maintains one visible lesion, the right leg 10-15, the left leg approximately 10, and the back approximately 10 (approximately 70-80 overall.)”
The autopsy also said 20 to 25 “acutely hemorrhagic small contusive lesions, consistent with fingers or something of similar size” were allegedly discovered on the child’s scalp.
Signs of physical abuse were allegedly present on Nov. 11, 2020, when an employee of the Lincoln County Department of Social Services visited the child’s home. The child allegedly had a bruise on each cheek and scratches on the back of the head, lower back, neck, and right hand, the complaint said.
The child’s weight at the time of the autopsy was 17 pounds, and the child’s height was 30.31 inches (77 centimeters), according to the complaint. The child’s weight fell below the third percentile for the child’s age, and the child’s height fell within the 25th percentile.
Methamphetamine was found in the child’s blood, as well as in the urine of the child’s siblings, after tests of each were conducted on Nov. 13, 2020, the complaint said.
“A plate with methamphetamine on it was located on a dresser in the bedroom closet of the bedroom used by Amber Boyd, Cody Robertson, and their three children,” the complaint stated. “Numerous items of drug paraphernalia, marijuana, LSD, additional methamphetamine, and a digital scale were located in the drawers of the dresser.”
According to the complaint, Boyd allegedly admitted to snorting a line of methamphetamine off of a plate on Nov. 10, 2020, the day before the Lincoln County Department of Social Services home visit, and that had Robertson left the methamphetamine on the plate for her when he left for work.
Boyd also allegedly told law enforcement officers that Robertson had smoked methamphetamine in the living room of the home on the morning of Nov. 12, 2020, the day of the child’s death.
Facebook records allegedly show that Boyd and Robertson were making arrangements to obtain marijuana, and that Robertson was arranging to obtain one ounce of methamphetamine. Robertson’s cell phone records also allegedly show that he was making arrangements to buy and sell both marijuana and methamphetamine “while he resided with (Boyd) and their three children,” according to the complaint.
Robertson was expected to appear in court on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 19.
Boyd was expected to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 20.