Town of Marilla toddler dies; DA weighing additional charges

Mar 14, 2017

A toddler has died days after investigators allege he was beaten inside a Town of Marilla trailer home by his babysitter. The Erie County District Attorney's Office says they are now considering additional charges but would not disclose what those counts may be.

The DA's office confirmed that Ethan Bigham, age 2, passed away after the family opted to take him off life support. The child's organs were to be donated. 

Police have charged 17-year-old Devon Vanderwege with first degree assault. A relative of the victim, speaking to the Buffalo News, said the boy's mother and boyfriend were working and had asked Vanderwege to watch the toddler. According to that same published report, the teen was caring for a nine-month-old as well. 

A spokesperson for the District Attorney told WBFO that prosecutors are considering other charges but would not disclose details until the results of an autopsy were available. Possible charges range from manslaughter to second-degree murder.

Vanderwege is scheduled to appear in Town of Marilla Court on Thursday. He remains held without bail at the Erie County Holding Center.