MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - The tragic story of a missing 2-year-old boy now presumed dead has almost come to an end. The boy's father and live-in girlfriend were charged with homicide by child abuse Thursday and the estranged family briefly reconnected in bond court.
When 28-year-old Roger Williams entered the court room, the missing boy's mother and grandmother started sobbing uncontrollably. Through tears, the boy's grandmother could only say "Oh, Jesus" as the judge read through the charges against Williams.
According to Williams' affidavit, Williams acknowledged the missing 2-year-old had an ongoing health condition that needed to be monitored. However, when Rodricus Williams fell ill, he instructed Trotman not to contact health care providers. He admitted to investigators he did not call for medical help either, "all of which led to the death of the child."
The affidavit called the actions that led to Rodricus' death "an extreme indifference to human life."
Judge Ava Ayers denied bond for Williams and his girlfriend, Grace Nichole Trotman, 24. The couple face a sentence of 20 year to life, if convicted.
The couple's next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 17.
The charges against Williams and Trotman came just moments after the Berkeley County sheriff announced the preliminary forensics findings Thursday morning.
Sheriff Wayne DeWitt said Thursday morning that Medical University forensics experts had isolated the remains of a boy in a cement-filled trash can found near a rural SC town.
"It's the body of a small, African-American boy," DeWitt said.
He added the hair was in small twists, consistent with the description of the missing boy released Tuesday night by Charleston police. The body was badly decomposed and an autopsy was pending to determine the boy's cause of death, he said.
DeWitt said forensics experts were still awaiting conclusive DNA evidence to identify the body before concluding the remains are those missing 2-year-old Rodricus Fred Williams. Dewitt said the results could come as early as within a week.
The trash can was located by Orangeburg County deputies Wednesday near the rural town of Bowman, he said.
Based on information obtained in the interviews with the child's father, 28-year-old Roger Williams and Mr. Williams' live-in girlfriend, Grace Nicole Trotman, said DeWitt, authorities were directed to an abandoned mobile home near Bowman in Orangeburg County where they found a cement-filled trash can.
The can was transported to MUSC and the contents were "forensically disassembled" to determine whether the boy's body was inside, DeWitt said.
"We wish for the best, but we are prepared for the worst," DeWitt said Wednesday in a press conference.
The Sheriff Wednesday said no new charges had been levied against the father at this point and Mr. Williams' girlfriend has not been charged by Berkeley County with any crimes.
"She is being very cooperative," he added.
However, Charleston City police have charged her with obstruction of justice.
According to the affidavit, Trotman admitted to an FBI agent that "she made up the missing child story to cover up an incident in which great bodily harm to the child occurred."
As a result, her false testimony misdirected the resources of local, state and federal authorities.
Trotman was given a $250,000 bond for the obstruction charge.
DeWitt said the sheriff's office had been in touch with the solicitor's office, but did not make mention of any charges that may be pending as a result.
The tragic tale started Tuesday night when police were notified a boy had fallen over the Battery wall and into Charleston harbor. Rescue crews scrambled to the scene and spent several hours searching the harbor for the missing two-year-old.
Because the child's alleged disappearance happened in downtown Charleston, the city police took the lead investigative role. The Charleston County Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Department of Natural Resources, the Coast Guard, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the FBI joined the effort.
By 11 p.m. however, the Charleston County Rescue Squad were no longer confident the boy had fallen in the water. Wednesday morning, just an hour after patrols resumed searching for the boy in the harbor, Charleston police called off the search, saying the boy had never been anywhere near the battery.
Police said the call alerting police to the incident had been made up.
Early Wednesday morning, police arrested Williams at a Summerville hotel.
According to police, when they entered the hotel room, Roger Williams said, "I'm the one you are looking for."
Williams has four outstanding warrants for his arrest and police said he was not cooperating with authorities as they searched for his son.
Charleston police announced Wednesday afternoon they were no longer leading the investigation and that the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office was taking over the investigation.