Nigerian mother reaches deal with prosecutors in fasting death case

December 14, 2018

A Nigerian native charged with starving her two sons — one of them to death — during a religious fast has reached an agreement with Sauk County prosecutors.

In September, the Sauk County District Attorney’s Office charged Titilayo A. Omosebi, 48, of Reedsburg, with two felony counts of child neglect, one causing death and another causing great bodily harm. Her case is now scheduled for a plea hearing Dec. 27.

Omosebi’s attorney, Michael Covey of Madison, confirmed in an email Thursday the parties have reached an agreement regarding the charge to which his client will plead. However, it is not yet clear whether the prosecution and defense will jointly recommend a sentence to the judge.

“There is no agreement at this time regarding the punishment,” Covey said, adding that he could not provide further details.

The agreement represents a speedy resolution for one of two defendants charged in the case. Omosebi’s husband, Kehindi, faces identical charges and has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

According to prosecutors, the father walked to the Reedsburg Police Department on Sept. 3 to report the death of his 15-year-old son. Police later found the emaciated boy deceased and sitting on a chair inside the family’s unfurnished, padlocked Alexander Avenue apartment.

The Nigerian couple’s 11-year-old son was alive, but also emaciated, according to authorities. Police found a letter the boy wrote in which he sought help, saying he would “probably die of hunger” if he didn’t eat.

According to the criminal complaint, the father said he was a minister and that the family had been fasting for more than 40 days as it awaited a “blessing from God.” The blessing was to assist the family in its desire to find a new place to live.

An attorney for the father told a judge in a court filing last month that “there is reason to doubt” his client’s competency to proceed in the case. The judge ordered the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to conduct a psychiatric evaluation that is due to be completed by the end of December.

The mother sits jailed on a $5,000 cash bond.

A Nigerian newspaper, the New Telegraph, has reported that Titilayo Omosebi’s brother claimed she was mistreated by her husband, and prevented from contacting family.

The couple married in Nigeria 13 years ago. They traveled to the United States after she won a visa lottery, but have since been heard from very little, the news report said.

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