Spruell [the mother's attorney] said Melanie DeToma left her husband in January and sought an uncontested divorce.Our thoughts and prayers are with the DeToma family.
The two DeTomas had reached a temporary agreement through mediation, but a final settlement had not yet been reached or filed in court, Spruell said.
The visitation agreement was that the father would have his sons on alternate Fridays until the following Monday morning. This Monday, however, he did not bring the children to his soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law as was the agreement, Spruell said.
That prompted Melanie DeToma to call her lawyer, who called Gary DeToma's attorney.
Spruell and his client then called Decatur police, the DeKalb Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Family and Children Services, but the agencies said there was not enough to allow them to go into Gary DeToma’s apartment without permission.
“We tried to get the property owner and the property manager to let us in, and they said they wouldn’t unless the police let us in,” Spruell said.
“We did everything thing that we could do and not a single government entity wanted to help us out,” Spruell said.
Decatur police said no one responded when an officer went to the door earlier Monday.
"The residence was secure and the officers observed nothing suspicious," the police said in a statement.
Spruell and Melanie DeToma also called Gary DeToma’s employer, who said he had not come to work. State Sun Electric declined to comment.
Melanie DeToma knocked on Miller's door around 8 a.m. and asked her to call the property manager. Miller said the property manager came over immediately, but told police she couldn't let them in. Miller said she was surprised that one of the boys hadn't opened the door. They often opened it for no reason after learning how to, she said, and surely would have answered a knock. She said she was also surprised to see Gary DeToma's van outside the apartment. He usually left for work by 6:30 a.m.
Miller left for work. Later, one of Gary DeToma’s co-workers came to check on him. When Gary DeToma didn’t answer his knocks, the co-worker, an electrician, took an extension ladder off his truck and climbed up to look into a bedroom window, Spruell said. He saw Gary Jr.’s body on a bed, the attorney said.
The co-worker was able to persuade the younger boy to open the door.
“He went in and saw Mr. DeToma and the little boy was deceased,” Spruell said.
Moments later, Melanie DeToma made her second trip of the day to the her husband’s apartment.
When she drove up, she saw the co-worker standing on the sidewalk with Will, still in his pajamas.
A police report says an officer who was dispatched to the apartment just before 1 p.m. found the dead boy. The official cause of Gary Jr.'s death is pending an autopsy to be performed Tuesday, but the results will not be released until a toxicology report is completed in two to three weeks.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Decatur Man Kills 5-year-old Son
On Monday, a Decatur man was charged with killing his 5-year-old son and attempting to kill the 4-year-old as well. The man and his estranged wife were in the process of a divorce. The mother's attorney speculates that this was the father's way of hurting the mother. He was seeking full custody.