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Homeowners defend themselves in Sun Prairie child abuse death

Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:52:41 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 27 2013 03:25:20 AM CDT

Brayden Turnbill, 5


After a five-year-old boy died of injuries allegedly sustained from child abuse at their home, homeowners Sam and Patricia Garwo are going on the offensive.

On Saturday morning, WISC-TV received a statement attributed to homeowners Sam and Patricia Garwo. The couple said that they were not home when Brayden Turnbill was hurt and that they opened their home to Turnbill's family about a month ago because Turnbill's family was "in need."

"At no time did we suspect Brayden or any of our children were in danger," the statement said. "We have three young children who are trying to comprehend what has just happened. We ... would hope people and the media would allow our family time to heal."

The Garwos said they are cooperating with police.

The Office of the Dane County Medical examiner said Brayden Turnbill, 5, died Thursday at the University of Wisconsin hospital, according to a release. The medical examiner deemed the manner of death homicide, but provided no further details.

Officers were called to 1948 Barrington Circle at 4:23 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a request for an ambulance. A 5-year-old boy was taken to a medical facility for treatment, according to police. He died at the hospital two days later.

Police said evidence indicates the community is not in danger. Investigators declined to release more information citing concerns about compromising the investigation.

"It is important to us, absolutely, to get out the information that we can for all our community members and everyone associated with this incident," said Assistant Chief Scott Faust with the Sun Prairie Police Department. "It's just at this point it would be irresponsible for us to release details that might compromise or jeopardize the investigation."

The department would not explain why releasing details about who might have been in the home would compromise the case.

"When we are doing an investigation of this magnitude it is incumbent upon us to be very thorough and very meticulous," said Faust. "Part of that is controlling some of the details of the event and the investigationĀ  so our investigative steps can be effective in the future."

Dane County Human Services has filed an Egregious Incident Report to the state in connection with Turnbill's death. That is followed up by a mandatory 90-day review by the state into how county workers handled the case. Spokespeople for the state and county had no further comment.

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