Two Women Charged For Torturing Seven-Year-Old To Death, Tried to Pin It On Nine-Year-Old Brother

Two Milwaukee women were charged Saturday for torturing a seven-year-old boy to death, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. According to court records, Trevion Winningham died weighing just 44 pounds, 10 pounds less than a boy his age.

He had been starved, whipped with cords and burned with cigarettes. Trevion’s brother was hospitalized with injuries, but was strong enough to talk to authorities. Mary Martinez, 47, and Etter Hughes, 44, both face a combined eight felony counts and face a maximum 25-years in prison.

According to a criminal complaint, Hughes was moving to Milwaukee and agreed to travel with Trevion and his older brother, her cousin’s children. In Milwaukee, the boys were living in Martinez’s rat-infested apartment. It was there that the 47-year-old subjected the boys to despicable forms of torture.

Both Hughes and Martinez had met in prison.

Martinez was doing time for a burglary conviction. She was arrested 12 times between 1994 and 2005, mainly on charges of burglary, bail jumping and theft.

Hughes was sentenced to 18-months in prison and four years of supervision after being convicted in the 2003 death of a child. The one-year-old had died at her residence. Hughes’ sister, then 19, and her daughter, who was 17 at the time, were convicted of the horrific abuse. Hughes’ sister remains in prison serving a 17-year-prison sentence while her daughter is on extended supervision with the state Department of Corrections.

Court records revealed that the child was tortured for nearly two weeks. An autopsy report revealed the little child had a broken arm which left untreated had developed gangrene. The little child also had a slew of other injuries.

“The left arm of the baby was broken in two separate places. He also had bruises and marks covering his entire body including bruises between the eyes.”

According to CBS 58, child abuse expert, Susan Conwell said it was shocking that Hughes was still allowed to be around children despite her conviction in child neglect causing death. Conwell said once again it exposed the flaws in the system, adding the system needed to get better at preventing deaths in future.

“I do think one of the real struggles we’re having is that we’re not always identifying escalation in abuse. I think that the hardest part is when somebody has a history of abuse and then abuses another child…that’s something we have to get a lot better at preventing.”

Mary Martinez has been allegedly fingered as the main culprit in the violent abuse of the seven-year-old boy. According to reports, the boy was taken to the Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center by Hughes. The boy was malnourished, unconscious, bruised and bloodied from head to toe. Trevion was rushed into the emergency room where for six hours, doctors tried to save his life. Unfortunately, they failed and pronounced the seven-year-old dead around 4:45 pm.

In an interview with police detectives, Hughes said she had been residing in Arkansas when she decided to move to Milwaukee with her 13-year-old son to look for work. According to her, she agreed to take her cousin’s two boys with her, their mother promised to join them later.

The 44-year-old said she stayed in a Milwaukee hotel with her boyfriend and the three kids, but the boyfriend was arrested on an outstanding warrant and sent back to Arkansas. Hughes desperately needing a place to stay contacted Martinez.

Investigators said Trevion and his nine-year-old brother were abused repeatedly. They were kicked in the head, punched and whipped with belts and electrical cords. Martinez also deprived them of food. On the day he died, Trevion’s brother saw that his brother was finding it difficult to breathe and that his eyes were rolling to the back of his head.

Martinez sensing that the seven-year-old boy was about to die, had ordered them out of her house, telling Hughes to take him to die in the woods.

“Y’all need to get out…the police can’t come to my house…take Trevion to the woods and drop him off.”

Etter Hughes had allegedly ignored Martinez’s suggestion and taken the boys to the hospital, there she had given a nurse a handwritten note saying that Trevion’s brother was responsible for his brother’s fatal injuries. Trevion was running a temperature of 84 degrees and had extensive cuts and bruises on his chest that they were simply “too many to count.”

Doctors saw that the brother accused of killing his younger sibling was severely malnourished and also was carrying injuries all over his body. They saw ligature marks on his hands which suggested that he had been tied up. Police were called in because of the apparent concern of violent abuse.

Martinez’s son speaking to investigators said he had seen Trevion and his brother tied up before and that they were not allowed to eat anything from the refrigerator. Martinez always told them” you can’t have crap.”

[Featured Image by Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office]