Sidney Landers, of Phoenix, Arizona, is facing homicide charges after a 3-year-old girl, Morgan Koepp, died after being left in his care.
The little girl was initially hospitalized after her mother returned from work and noticed injuries on the child which required medical attention.
A family member said the injuries, which included five broken ribs, resulted in the young victim going into cardiac arrest in addition to causing a flesh-eating bacteria.
Morgan was taken off of life support and succumbed to the horrifying injuries on Wednesday.
Heavy spoke with the child’s grandfather and others close to the family.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Told Police He Was ‘Frustrated’ the Little Girl Had ‘Several Accidents in Her Pants’ & ‘Covered Her Mouth’ to Stop Her From Screaming
During an interview with investigators, Landers, 33, said he “did not mean to cause the injuries” to the victim but did so out of frustration.
According to a police report obtained by KTVK:
During a post miranda interview the defendant stated he was ‘frustrated’ because the victim had several accidents in her pants and would not sit still when he cleaned her. The defendant stated victim had been sick the previous day. The defendant stated he held his hand over the victim’s mouth when she was screaming during her diaper change. The defendant stated he had to use force to hold the victim to change her diaper and hadd held her with his hands. The defendant stated he did not mean to cause the injuries but was frustrated.
2. The Victim Had ‘Multiple Broken Ribs,’ Went Into Cardiac Arrest & Suffered a Flesh-Eating Bacteria Due to the Injuries
When Morgan was taken to the hospital, she was “alert,” and even said “Hi Poppy” when she saw Timothy Williams, her grandfather. Though five of her ribs had been broken and she was heavily bruised, Morgan even had enough strength to ask her grandpa to take her to the bathroom, and he was able to get her to take a sip of Gatorade, Williams told Heavy. Never did they imagine that things would take a turn for the worse in only a few hours.
“She was bruised and very hurt, but just like when she would fall down and get right back up, that’s what she was doing in the hospital at first,” Williams said.
“She said ‘Hi Poppy,’” he explained through tears. “She was the most fun-loving little girl.”
Soon after Morgan was moved to the intensive care unit, where she went into cardiac arrest, Williams explained. They were able to bring her back but sadly she went into another cardiac arrest episode soon after the first.
“They had to bring her back, and then they had to put her on life support to breathe for her, to keep her alive,” the grandfather stated.
Williams said the little girl had to endure several surgeries and that she developed a “necrotizing soft tissue infection.” The infection had taken over the toddler’s entire body as a direct result of being punched or hit.
Morgan was pronounced dead on Wednesday.
3. There Were No Warning Signs That He Was Capable of This Crime Until After Morgan’s Death, & He Is a Father to 3 Boys
Williams told Heavy that Landers has three young boys of his own, and appeared to be a good father. He met the man a few times and never saw any warning signs.
“There were never any warning signs,” Williams told Heavy. “But now I blame myself. I should’ve done a background check on him. Because we were told after Morgan died by his [Landers] ex father-in-law, that he had several restraining orders brought against him in the the past.”
Landers’ Facebook page showed photos where he appeared to be a dedicated and loving father.
Melanie Stone, a friend of the family, spoke with Heavy about the love that Brianna and Morgan’s grandfather had for the little girl.
“When I learned what happened to my friend Tim’s granddaughter I was horrified,” she stated. “This is something you read about or see on the news, and when it hits someone you know it becomes a reality. Seeing Tim’s pictures with his daughter Brianna and granddaughter Morgan you can tell just how close they were, and the bond the three had. My heart breaks for them. Morgan and her family deserve justice.”
4. Family Is Asking to Please Not Blame the Mother, She’s Going Through ‘Unimagineable Pain’ & This is Not Her Fault
Brianna Williams is receiving blame and threatening messages online, and Williams told Heavy that’s the last thing she needs at this time. He stated:
It wasn’t her fault. She was a wonderful mom. She’s a wonderful person. If she ever had any idea at all that this could happen she never would’ve been with him. She doesn’t deserve what is happening right now, she needs to grieve. She shouldn’t have to deal with all of this when she is going through this, it’s not right and it’s not fair. She loved being a mom. This isn’t her fault whatsoever and people need to just stop. In every sense of the word, she was the best mom.
5. Her Mother Wrote a Heartbreaking Statement Via GoFundMe
Brianna wrote a moving letter to Morgan and posted it to a GoFundMe account set up to help the family during this trying time. She stated:
To my beautiful baby girl who taught me so much in these last 3 years. I saw you fighting and fighting as hard as you could. I saw how much pain you were in and I am so sorry you had to endure such a tragedy,” the letter read. “Its breaks my heart and to see you laying there fighting so hard for mommy shows me how much you tried and how much you love me. I hate that I will never be able to watch you grow and see you again or hold you again until I one day get to heaven. But I am able to keep going because I know you are now resting in a better place.
To donate to the GoFundMe page, please click here.
Landers is currently being held on child abuse charges at Maricopa County Jail, and charges are expected to be upgraded to homicide very soon.
*This article will be updated as information becomes available.