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Three family members arrested in Wilson in connection to 3-year-old’s death

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 10:17 PM CDT
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Wilson, Okla. (KXII) - Members of a Wilson, Oklahoma family are behind bars in the Carter County Jail after the death of 3-year-old James Smith Jr.

“Part of it makes me wonder if I could’ve done anything beforehand,” said Latrica Landreth, a neighbor living near the 200 block of 11th and Birch Street.

Friday morning, the child’s father, 23-year-old James Smith was arrested for child abuse by injury. Other members include 29-year-old Shannon Smith, the child’s aunt for first-degree murder, and her husband 24-year-old Frank Smith Jr. for failure to protect.

Landreth said it happened around noon when she saw the mayor of Wilson, Frank Schaaf carry James Jr. to paramedics.

“All we could see was blonde hair and he was running to the responders,” said Landreth.

Schaaf said he was six blocks away at the senior citizen’s center in Wilson when he heard his scanner go off, with dispatch calling out that a child had fallen out of its crib and was unresponsive.

“I started CPR on the child almost immediately, almost immediately within 15 seconds I was there,” said Schaaf.

Schaaf, a retired Ardmore Firefighter, said James was rushed to a hospital in Healdton where he had little to no pulse. But when James pronounced dead when he arrived at Healdton.

Schaaf, a father to a child around the same age as James said he had bruising from head to toe with a fractured skull.

“It was very difficult to do what I did yesterday,” said Schaaf. “There were a lot of bruises on the child. They said he was iron deficient.”

A fundraiser is on Facebook to cover the cost of a funeral and family travel for James Smith Jr.

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