Thursday, December 20, 2018, Wagoner, Okla.: District 27 District Attorney Jack Thorp announces new charges against the grandparents of a 14-month-old boy found dead in their custody on March 30, 2018.
The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday served arrest warrants on William Woolley III, 59, and his wife, Lisa Woolley, 56, for first-degree murder involving the death of a child. William was also served a warrant for sexual abuse of a child under 12, and Lisa was served with enabling child sexual abuse.
“A district attorney has no more sacred duty than the duty to fight for the truly voiceless,” said Thorp, “and Elijah Woolley was the epitome of voiceless innocence. Once Wagoner County Sheriff’s investigators uncovered the facts in this case, we have been committed to justice for Elijah and the young relative who helped us solve this crime.”
Investigators with the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of an unresponsive baby at a Broken Arrow residence on the night of March 30. Disturbed by Elijah Woolley’s physical appearance at his grandparents’ home in the 7400 block of South Delucca St., deputies secured the home as a crime scene and gathered evidence and witness statements.
“The first hours of an investigation form the building blocks of any successful prosecution,” said Thorp, “and the facts gathered by investigators in the first 48 hours of this case paint a disturbing picture of a miserable existence for Elijah and his male relative.”
The state medical examiner noted injuries during Elijah’s autopsy that led investigators to take a closer look at the boy’s 5-year-old relative, who was also in the Woolleys’ custody. During a sexual assault examination (SANE), the boy revealed William Woolley sexually assaulted both him and Elijah on multiple occasions, in front of Lisa Woolley, and that Lisa Woolley did nothing to stop it, even though he said, Elijah would “cry and cry.”
The medical examiner’s final autopsy report determined Elijah’s manner of death was homicide caused by asphyxiation due to suffocation. The report also noted injuries consistent with sexual abuse. Investigators said Elijah’s face, frozen by rigor mortis, gave the appearance he spent his last moments fighting for his life.
“Those types of images haunt us as investigators and prosecutors,” said Thorp, “and remind us what we’re fighting for.”
The Woolleys were booked into the Wagoner County jail on two counts each of sexual assault of a minor in April of 2018. They bonded out in late July.
William Woolley, III does not have a bond at this time. Lisa Woolley’s bond is $500,000. They are presumed innocent until and unless they are proven guilty at trial.
Timeline of Facts in Elijah Woolley Death1
- March 30, 2018 – Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call of an unresponsive baby.
- March 31, 2018 – Oklahoma Medical Examiner performed an autopsy of 14-month-old Elijah Woolley.
- April 12, 2018 – Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office investigators booked William and Lisa Woolley into jail on warrants of Child Sexual Abuse/Enabling Child Sexual Abuse. Bond was set at $500,000 each.
- July 31, 2018 – Preliminary hearing where a judge found sufficient probable cause to bind the Woolleys over for trial on the sexual abuse allegations. Bond was reduced to $50,000.
- July 31, 2018 – William and Lisa Woolley bonded out of the Wagoner County jail.
- December 20, 2018 – Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office arrested William and Lisa Woolley on first-degree murder involving the death of a child warrants. William Woolley, III was also charged with sexual abuse of a child under 12 related to Elijah Woolley. Lisa Woolley was charged with enabling child sexual abuse related to Elijah Woolley. William is being held in the Wagoner County Jail without bond. Lisa’s bond is set at $500,000.