Father arraigned in death of 16-month-old boy found in ditch

The suspect accused of murdering a 16-month-old boy and disposing of his body in a ditch has been arraigned.
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 1:02 PM EDT
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MONTROSE TWP, Mich. (WNEM) - The suspect accused of murdering a 16-month-old boy and disposing of his body in a ditch has been arraigned.

Michael Butler, 39, of Mt. Morris Township, has been charged with felony murder, child abuse, concealing the death of an individual, and aggravated domestic violence. Butler was arraigned in Genesee County District Court Tuesday morning. He was denied bond.

“This is an extraordinarily tragic situation,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said while talking about the death of Chaos Demilo.

The boy’s body was found in a ditch on Thursday on Morrish Road near Dodge Road in Montrose Township. Investigators say his body was wrapped in a blanket.

“We believe that while in the care and custody of the biological father, the child sustained a skull fracture,” Leyton said.

Leyton believes it’s an instance of two people who were unfit to be parents.

“You had a mother who had four children, one of whom was this toddler Chaos,” Leyton said. “And she was overwhelmed, homeless, unable to care for her children. There was a Child Protective Services (CPS) history going on. This child ended up with the father.”

A move that was challenged in court by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

“The department of health and human services actually filed a petition with the court indicating that it was contrary to the welfare of the child to be placed with the father,” Leyton said. “So DHHS did not want the child placed with the father.”

A judge in the Genesee County Circuit Court family division denied the petition.

“Well, you know, the mother was challenged,” Leyton said. “She was homeless and she had her own issues. And it was determined she was unable to care for the child. Courts like to keep families with biological parents if they can. There was nobody else who was able to step forward and take this particular child at that time.”

Crimes against child victims are difficult for prosecutors and law enforcement alike. This case is no different, Leyton said.

“You have a toddler who never had any chance whatsoever to live, and he ends up in a field abandoned by his own biological father,” Leyton said. “I can’t think of anything that’s sadder.”