Harvard man, woman accused of endangering 'severely malnourished' child

A Harvard man and woman are accused of endangering the health of a child who was hospitalized last month after becoming “severely malnourished,” court records show.

Margaret and William Wisner each are charged with aggravated battery, reckless conduct and child endangerment following a police and Department of Children and Family Services investigation. Warrants have been issued for the pair’s arrest, although neither had yet been arrested as of Wednesday afternoon.

The criminal charges stem from allegations that both 48-year-old Margaret Wisner and 40-year-old William Wisner caused the child to “become severely malnourished” after failing to provide adequate nutrition and medical care for two years, court records show.

The most serious charge, aggravated domestic battery, is a felony typically punishable by three to seven years in prison.

A GoFundMe campaign, created on Nov. 2 by a person who identified themselves as Margaret Wisner, claimed the child in question has “special needs” and has become a “victim of CPS.” The campaign, tagged under “accidents and emergencies,” raised $530 and was deactivated as of Wednesday.

Police could not confirm Wednesday whether the child has received an official diagnosis.

DCFS contacted the Harvard Police Department on Nov. 17, Harvard Police Chief Mark Krause said. The agency asked officers to stand by while DCFS conducted a home visit at the Wisners’ house in the 100 block of Shawnee Lane.

Police learned through DCFS that a child in the home was receiving medical treatment in Milwaukee, Krause said. An update on the child’s condition was not available Wednesday afternoon. It was unclear whether DCFS has removed the child from the Wisners’ supervision.

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.