Winnebago residents in shock after revelations of child abuse claims against neighbors


Neighbors in Winnebago are still in shock after Christopher and Kathryn Williams, once thought to be caring parents, were indicted Thursday on two dozen charges, including attempted murder and aggravated battery to a child. 

Winnebago County officials say the abuse of their two children went on for years, but the actual nature of the abuse may have been why it went unreported for so long.

“Abuse comes in many forms,” Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross said . “It can be physical, it can be emotional, it can be psychological. It can also include medical abuse.

“Over-medicating a child, or looking for procedures to take place regarding a child, that may not be necessary, that’s just one form of abuse,” she said.

The Williamses are no longer listed as being in custody at the Winnebago County Jail. Eyewitness News visited their house on Friday morning, and found a sign posted on the front door alerting visitors to the ‘medical fragility’ of the children inside.

Both children are still with authorities.

“I think it’s horrible, absolutely horrible, how any parents could do that to their child, or anybody,” said a neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous. “I drove past that house twice a day to go to work. I have never once seen any children outside of that house, ever.”

Hite Ross says isolating the kids from their neighbors is something commonly seen in similar cases.

“The more interaction children have with others, outside of the home, the more opportunity children have to be observed, where others can observe the abuse, or children can report the abuse,” she said.

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