Friend saw signs of neglect, abuse of 4-year-old ‘first-hand’

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:15 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Court documents paint a horrific picture of what 4-year-old Dominic Wood and other children in the home that he lived in endured.

A woman close to the family, who did not want to be identified, said she saw signs of neglect and abuse and wishes she would have spoken up.

Court documents say a 4-year-old died of of an overdose after toxicology reports showed cocaine and fentanyl in his system. He was in the care of his mother, 25-year-old Noel C. Wood, and her boyfriend, 34-year-old Jonathan A. Mulvihill.

READ MORE: Police searching for couple wanted in child neglect death

25-year-old Noel C. Wood (left) and 34-year-old Jonathan A. Mulvihill (right).
25-year-old Noel C. Wood (left) and 34-year-old Jonathan A. Mulvihill (right).(Allen County Sheriff's Department)

Wednesday a warrant was issued for their arrest. A detective from the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) said tips from the public assisted them in taking the couple into custody on Thursday.

Court documents describe the one bedroom apartment on Dewald Street to be of “complete filth” and “extreme mess.”

The woman, who spoke only with 21Alive News, said she and Woods started developing a friendship in 2020. However, it did not take long for her to notice some questionable behavior.

“Just in the way that she would treat her son... the baby that passed away,” she said. “She would often leave the kids home alone, with her 7-year-old daughter.”

She said when she visited the home Dominic was often “pinned up.”

“There were a couple of times me and my sister came in and Dom would be in a car seat,” she said. “It was tied to the wall or the couch. It was definitely made for him to not get up and move around.”

According to court documents, a girl who was living in the home told police the boy was often strapped into a car seat for “time-out.”

The girl also told police that she saw Wood smoking in front of her. She and Mulvihill used drugs that she described as a “white powder.” Wood and Mulvihill would put it up their nose, she told investigators.

In July 2022, Fort Wayne Police were called to the house. The 4-year-old was not breathing. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy later determined the boy overdosed.

“It was very heartbreaking,” she said. “The story that was told to me [by Noel]... it just didn’t seem right. I was horrified when I learned that he had all that in his system,” said the woman.

According to court documents, investigators found drugs and drug paraphernalia inside the apartment. It was all within reach of the children, who were under the age of 8-years-old at the time.

There was also a foul odor in the home and human feces smeared on the windows and the walls. Investigators saw piles of trash, spoiled food and children toys covered in garbage and feces.

The family friend has not talked with Wood or Mulvihill since she learned of the charges but she said she felt it was important to talk with 21Alive News.

“I feel it was important because... I believe that if I would have stepped up more that Dom would still be here today,” she said.

Wood and Mulvihill are charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death and two additional neglect charges.