Amber Nichole McDaniel, 31, is charged with tampering with physical evidence and endangering a child in connection with incidents Oct. 11, 2018, the day her son was discovered dead, according to allegations in court records.
The charges came after a Secret Service lab broke into the cell phone of the man accused of murdering her child, according to court records.
Wilder was found unresponsive the morning of Oct. 11, 2018, by Amber while she and Wilder were staying at the Wichita Falls home of James Irven Staley III, who Amber was dating at the time, according to allegations in court records.
Staley, 38, has been charged with murder in connection with Wilder's death.
Wichita County law-enforcement authorities suspect Wilder was smothered with a pillow in Staley's home in the 2000 block of Irving Place, according to allegations in court records and an autopsy report.
Police discovered that Amber, known at the time as Amber Odom, and her son had been staying at Staley's house as guests for about two months. Amber and Staley indicated they were dating.
The patrol officer noted Amber was "extremely upset," and he couldn't get much information from her. Staley's actions on scene
The patrol officer said Staley showed him to the bedroom, which he said belonged to his daughter, where Amber found Wilder.
There was blood on the floor just in front of the crib and on an adult-sized pillow in the crib.
AMR personnel observed the child's body was cold to the touch and in a state of rigor mortis. There was some blood on Wilder's face, and it was obvious he was not alive.
So AMR personnel did not administer medical treatment. An AMR staff member pronounced Wilder dead at 9:14 a.m. What police think happened
Law enforcement officers believe Staley killed the child while Amber was drunk and asleep in the other room.
She is accused of endangering a child by knowingly placing Wilder in a situation where he could be harmed. Amber had primary care and custody of Wilder.
She told police she began dating Staley in the summer of 2018 and by August 2018, was spending nights at his house, and she would bring Wilder.
Spewing hatred and threats
After the arrest of James Staley for the murder of Wilder, law enforcement retrieved his phone to gather evidence.
They were recently able to “crack” the phone in order to look at texts and messages. Detectives found a large number of texts and Facebook messages between Staley and Amber.
Through the course of the investigation, it was found that from August 2018 until Wilder’s death in October 2018, Staley spewed an onslaught of hatred, violence and threats to Amber about Wilder.
Amber allegedly ignored the increasingly violent threats and continued to bring Wilder around Staley.
Amber admitted Staley’s violent behavior toward her son began as early as August 2018.
She recalled going to dinner at Staley’s house with Wilder where Staley got angry with the child and asked them to leave.
Threats against Wilder and Bubba
After she and Wilder left, Staley began a stream of angry texts to her.
In addition, Staley would often stay up all night, indicating that Amber was asleep while Staley, who voiced an increasing pattern of hatred, violence and threats, remained awake.
After the murder, Amber's stepfather told police about Facebook messages to her from Staley. When a detective asked her about them, she showed them to him.
In the Facebook messages, Staley calls Wilder names and threatens his life. He also refers to Wilder's father, Bubba McDaniel.Staley wrote: "Scumbags and . . . need to be culled. They both fall in that category. And I got plenty of guns."
Despite the hatred and threats, Amber told police that when Staley apologized and claimed he was off his medication, she continued seeing him and taking Wilder to stay overnight.
A forensic analysis of the phone found multiple messages between Amber and Staley from July 2018 through Oct. 10, 2018 — the day before Wilder’s death.
The messages show an escalating level of abuse and violence from Staley toward Wilder. The messages show Staley admits to abusing the child.
Staley allowed to babysit
Staley calls Wilder dozens of “dehumanizing” names, said he wished to be rid of Wilder and hoped the child would die of SIDS.
He refers to wanting to punch the child or having punched the child in multiple messages.
"I should have punched him in the face and kicked him to the floor and said (expletive) you, snake," Staley wrote Aug. 22, 2018.
Police believe Staley's texts about changing Wilder's diaper Aug. 24, 2018, show Amber knew Staley "lacked the basic empathy and maturity to care for a child."
But she continued to allow Staley to babysit Wilder while she was away. On Aug. 31, 2018, Amber let Staley watch Wilder while she worked tending bar.
She told detectives Staley messaged her that Wilder fell off the bed.
In spring 2021, detectives recovered a video from Staley's cell phone in which he is holding Wilder, who has bruises on his head and looks afraid.
Staley directed the video to Amber, asking her to come home. In the video, he turns to Wilder, saying, "It is quite the shiner. . . . But you think I pushed you off the bed?"
A mother warned, allegedly
Staley also warned Amber in Aug. 7, 2018, messages that she should stay away from him for her and her son's own good.
On Aug. 8, 2018, Staley messaged Amber, "Yeah, unless they are mine, don't like kids. It's decided. Can't fix that babe."
Amber responded: "I'm sorry you hate my child." On Aug. 10, 2018, she messaged Staley: "Please don't stop loving us."