Jesse Wilson’s adoptive mom released from county jail under supervision for concealing son’s body

Crystal Wilson, was arrested on charges of concealing or abandoning his body, but now a judge has released her from behind bars until she stands trial.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 8:34 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 11, 2023 at 12:24 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Six months after an arrest was made in the high-profile death of 10-year-old Jesse Wilson in Buckeye, there’s been a twist in the case. Jesse’s adoptive mom, Crystal Wilson, was arrested on charges of concealing or abandoning his body, but now a judge has released her from behind bars until she stands trial.

Many are asking how this could happen. “This is bullsh*t.” That’s what Jesse Wilson’s biological father, Jesse Machado, told reporter Briana Whitney on the phone Friday after learning his son’s adoptive mother, Crystal Wilson, is now on supervised release and out from behind bars.

This is what Machado told us in December when Wilson was arrested, four years after his son’s remains were found: “It’s a relief, but the justice is not served yet. She’s not sentenced yet,” Machado told us at the time. Now, she’s free to live her life until the trial.

It was back in July of 2016 when Crystal Wilson reported her 10-year-old adoptive son Jesse Wilson went missing from their Buckeye home, telling authorities he ran away, then telling others he fell out a window. His remains weren’t found in Buckeye until 2018.

Police said Jesse had previously run away to find food, and Jesse’s siblings told authorities Wilson beat him. Jesse’s blood was also found inside Wilson’s car, but because his remains were so deteriorated, no cause of death was determined. Police long suspected Wilson was involved but felt they didn’t have enough evidence to charge her with murder, so instead, they charged her with a Class 5 felony of abandonment or concealment of a body.

So why would a judge allow her to be released? “This is very normal for a person to be released when they have no criminal history and no prior felonies on their record,” said attorney Ben Taylor, who is not affiliated with the case. Taylor said this is considered a low-level felony, much different than any homicide charge would be.

In the court paperwork, the State of Arizona said they’re not conceding she’s innocent of murder or hurting Jesse. “Even if the police department believes that she was involved in a murder, the judge only looks at the charge in front of them to decide whether or not to release a person,” said Taylor.

And there may be a reason why police looked to charge Wilson with at least some type of crime. The statute of limitations for Class 5 felonies in Arizona is seven years. That was about to expire just before Wilson was arrested.

“If the prosecutor doesn’t bring up the case within seven years, the case will get completely dismissed,” said Taylor. “If they don’t have a charge for murder, the highest charge, they’ll just try to bring some charge in order to get a conviction at the end of the day.”

Wilson is on supervised release, so she does have to wear an electronic monitor. Typically, if somebody is convicted of a Class 5 felony and it’s their first offense, they face a sentence of six months to two and a half years in prison. No trial date has been set yet.

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