A Milwaukee woman suspected of killing her 4-year-old son with autism is accused of bounding him with belts and setting him on fire before his death, according to court documents.
Amelia Di Stasio, 23, faces a charge of first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of Antonio Di Stasio, her only child, PIX11 sister station WITI in Milwaukee reported Wednesday.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by WITI, Milwaukee firefighters found the child’s lifeless body, with his hands bound behind his back with several belts and a garbage bag over his head, in a bathtub after responding to a report of “smoke” at an apartment on the morning of Sept. 28.
“The majority of his body was burned,” the complaint stated.
It appeared the victim’s body had been set on fire, and an unknown accelerant had been used. Investigators found a bottle of canola cooking oil on the bathroom sink, according to the complaint.
A dead pet guinea pig that had been drowned in its cage was also found next to the tub, the station reported. A smoke detector in the apartment had been placed in water, the complaint indicated.
Police have identified young Antonio as the victim.
An autopsy revealed that the boy’s hands and arms were bound to his sides with seven belts, according to the complaint. A plastic bag had been placed over his head secured with a knot at the back of his head. There was “significant charring” to his skin, and the boy sustained thermal injuries “to the majority of his body,” according to the autopsy.
Authorities ruled Antonio’s death a homicide.
The child lived in the apartment with his mother, who was not home when firefighters and police arrived.
One witness told investigators that the mother and son had moved into the building two months earlier, and that his mother “wasn’t friendly and kept to herself.”
She said she heard the pair arguing the day before the little boy was killed, with Antonio saying “Please, Mommy. Stop! I won’t do it again.” The witness further recalled hearing Di Stasio yell, “Shut up,” the complaint stated.
A “banging noise” could be heard coming from their unit the unit the day of the boy’s death, the witness recalled.
Another witness told investigators she saw a “frazzled”-looking woman jump from the apartment window on Sept. 28, the complaint stated.
Di Stasio was arrested later that day.
Investigators searched her purse and found a note with a woman’s name and phone number written on it, according to WITI. When authorities called it, they spoke a husband and wife who said they saw the woman crying.
When they asked her what was wrong, she asked if they knew a pastor. She told them she “did something really bad,” had “never did nothing like that before” and needed to speak with somebody, according to the station. The man gave her a number.
The complaint also indicated a search of Di Stasio’s cellphone revealed she had looked up “how to kill a canabal (sic)” on Sept. 28, and that she had visited a message board dedicated to an online game billed as a “horror survival game” in which players fight cannibals. The message board “detailed the ways to kill cannibals within the game,” and recommended to “kill it with fire.” It also discussed how, in the game, cannibals “like to bathe in oil.”
If convicted, Di Stasio faces a sentence of life in prison.