Adoptive mother arrested in death of 10-year-old Jesse Wilson
BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The Buckeye Police Dept. says Crystal Wilson, the adoptive mother of 10-year-old Jesse Wilson, has been arrested in connection with the young boy’s death. During a press conference Tuesday morning, Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall said that last week, a grand jury indicted Wilson on one count of abandoning or concealing a body. She was arrested Monday afternoon at her home in Gainesville, Ga. and has since been extradited to Maricopa County in March 2023.
Wilson was reported missing from his home in the Sundance neighborhood of Buckeye, near 239th Ave. and Twilight Trail, in the early morning hours of Monday, July 18, 2016. Police and hundreds of volunteers from the community, including staff from the school Jesse attended, spent countless hours searching for the boy but found no trace of him. The FBI also helped in the search. Police wouldn’t rule out foul play in his disappearance.
Watch Chief Hall’s full announcement below:
On March 8, 2018, a Buckeye municipal employee found what appeared to be partial human skeletal remains on the side of the road near State Route 85 and Broadway Road. A few days later, those remains were positively identified as Jesse Wilson. His cause of death was classified as “undetermined.”
“He didn’t deserve that. He could’ve had a better life,” said Jesse Machado, Jesse Wilson’s biological father. From afar, Machado has had to watch the painstaking investigation of the disappearance of his son in 2016, then when his remains were found in Buckeye in 2018.
Machado and his mom Carolyn Lasenberry suspected Jesse’s adoptive mother, Crystal Wilson, was at fault all along. “Why wasn’t the state doing anything? They had seen what was going on. They didn’t do anything. They did not protect this child,” said Lasenberry.
In November 2020, Chief Hall says a new investigator was assigned to the case to reexamine the facts, explore new angles, and conduct follow-up. It’s unclear what new evidence was gathered over the past two years, but the Buckeye Police Dept. recently submitted a case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review of criminal charges. She was indicted by a Maricopa County Grand Jury on Dec. 9.
Nearly three months before his disappearance in April 2016, police responded to another situation involving Jesse when a man found the young boy in his front yard. Police spoke with the child and brought him home, where his adoptive mother, Crystal Wilson, said she had just discovered that he had climbed out of his bedroom window. Buckeye police said they followed procedures and that there was no reason that the Arizona Department of Child Services needed to be contacted.
“Based upon that incident alone, there was nothing to indicate he needed to be removed from the house. If there was, we would’ve contacted DCS and taken steps to have him removed, but there was nothing on that initial call to indicate abuse, neglect, or anything along those lines the time we went out there,” said Chief Larry Hall.
“I want a murder charge on her. That was my grandson. She killed my grandson, and I know she did,” said Lasenberry. For a father who believes he could have given his son a better life than what he had, this weighs on his heart that much more.“What would you want him to know from you?” asked reporter Briana Whitney. “That I love him,” Macahdo said with tears in his eyes.
Wilson had moved a few weeks before Jesse’s remains were discovered. When police contacted her about the positive identification, she had already relocated to Georgia. Chief Halls says Wilson will soon be extradited back to Arizona for prosecution.
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