Toddler brain dead, babysitter charged

Posted at 12:33 PM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 12:49:48-04

The Erie County Sheriff's Office is probing the brutal beating of a little boy in Marilla.

Ethan Bigham's paternal grandmother confirms to 7 Eyewitness News, that the 2-year-old suffered catastrophic brain injuries and was pronounced brain dead at Women and Children's Hospital on Sunday.  The toddler, we're told, is being kept on life-support so his organs can be donated.

"They're going to have a moment of silence and they're going to read a special prayer because he's a little hero, and at least he can help other children," said Ethan's grandmother Sue Wiesniewski.

Wiesniewski says her grandson suffered severe bruises, and was black and blue all over his body.

"He's my little angel," Wiesniewski said. 

According to a police report obtained by 7 Eyewitness News, 17-year-old Devon VanDerWege is under arrest, charged with assault. He is due back in court Thursday at noon.

The District Attorney's office is considering additional charges against VanDerWege which will be decided after the results of Ethan's autopsy on Tuesday.

Emergency crews were called to Hillside Estates, a mobile home park in Marilla around 9:30pm on Friday.