2 years of pictures: A mother remembers her son's life

Rodricus Williams' birth
Rodricus Williams' birth

By Sam Tyson and Tracey Amick

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Shaneka Washington now only has pictures to remember her son Rodricus Williams, the 2-year-old reported missing and feared dead, allegedly at the hands of his father.

Sitting on the steps of her Morrison Drive home, Washington flips through the mementos of her son's short life, tearfully recalling each moment captured on film.

He loved to play with cars, she said.

"His second birthday he was driving. He loved driving, to be in control of everything," Washington said.

In a picture showing Rodricus and two cousins sitting in a toy car, he's in the center and behind the wheel. Washington says he wouldn't let anyone else behind the wheel that day.

Washington alternates between smiling and laughing about her adorable son and his vibrant personality and fighting back tears at the thought of never seeing him again. As difficult as coping with the loss of a small child is, she's also at a loss when it comes to Rodricus' sister.

Many of the pictures show Rodricus and his older sister together. Quietly, Washington admits that she has not told her daughter what happened to little Rodricus.

"She accidentally saw the news and she started asking why he was on that channel," she said. "I still don't know what to tell her."

Washington is also at a loss when it comes to the claims that her son had health problems. She says the only health problem she knew of was eczema.

According to reports, young Rodricus was in and out of hospitals, being treated for various ailments. Roger Williams' affidavit indicated the boy had sustained prolonged abuse.

"I never heard he was going to the hospital," Washington said.

But that may have been a result of Williams' deflections, says Washington. She says she last talked to her son on the phone two weeks ago.

"I barely got to talk to him," Washington said. "Most of the times I would call and they would always have an excuse. He [Williams] would say 'He's with my mama. He's sleeping. He's at the park' with his girl [Grace Trotman], you know."

The excuses and deflection started to concern Washington, however. She says she knew it was lies and that's why she pressed Williams to deliver her son Tuesday night.

"And that's how all this started," she said.

Her concerns were well founded, it seems.

In interviews with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, Williams' live-in girlfriend Grace Nichole Trotman pointed authorities to a vacant trailer in an isolated area of Orangeburg County.

There, deputies found the body of a small African-American boy encased in 450 pounds of concrete inside a plastic 30-gallon trash can.

While DNA evidence from the Medical University of South Carolina's forensics lab has yet to come in, many people -- including law enforcement -- have prepared for the seemingly inevitable conclusion that the body is that of Rodricus Williams.

The affidavit, in fact, says the elder Williams killed his son.

Before the body; before the forensics team; before the arrest of the father and his girlfriend were arrested and charged with homicide by child abuse, a bogus 911 call was made by Trotman.

"And when I turned back around to make sure everyone was together, my daughter was walking by herself. And I was like, 'Oh, my gosh.' So I asked some people that were around me if they saw a little boy with a red shirt on," Trotman told the 911 dispatcher Tuesday night.

The couple had concocted a story in which Rodricus had slipped through the rails at White Point Gardens and fallen into Charleston harbor.

That story was a costly lie in more ways that one.

Trotman was charged by Charleston police with obstruction of justice. Trotman and Williams were charged with homicide by child abuse.

And Washington is left with her pictures.

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