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Kansas mom sentenced 20 years for beating toddler son to death for refusing to eat hot dog

son of Elizabeth Woolheater Wichita
Pictured, Anthony 'Tony' Bunn, son of Elizabeth Woolheater Wichita, Kansas woman.
son of Elizabeth Woolheater Wichita
Pictured, Anthony ‘Tony’ Bunn, son of Elizabeth Woolheater Wichita, Kansas woman.

Elizabeth Woolheater Wichita, Kansas mom sentenced 20 years for her role in beating death of toddler son for refusing to eat hot dog. Anthony Bunn had been ongoing victim of child abuse.

A Wichita, Kansas mother was this week sentenced to 20 years jail after admitting to her role in the beating death of her 2 year old toddler son after refusing to eat his hot dog.

Elizabeth Woolheater pled guilty in August to second-degree murder and two counts of child abuse after her son, Anthony ‘Tony’ Bunn fatally succumbed to injuries sustained on May 4, 2018.

KWCH12 reported the infant dying two days after his then 22 year old mother initially assaulting him, only to walk away when her boyfriend took the boy aside and continued to ‘thrash him’. 

‘Tony was under your charge. And your job was to raise him and protect him,’ Judge Jeff Syrios told Woolheater at her Friday sentencing. ‘You failed him in the very worst way possible.’

Elizabeth Woolheater and Lucas Diel
Pictured, Elizabeth Woolheater and Lucas Diel.

”Why, mommy? Why didn’t you protect me?’

At the time of her arrest, Woolheater told Sedgwick County authorities that she ‘lost it’ when Tony refused to swallow pieces of hot dog she gave him for breakfast. Woolheater slapped him across the face and hit him again while her boyfriend, Lucas Diel held the food in the boy’s mouth, according to an affidavit released in the case.

Woolheater then told cops that she heard Diel repeatedly hitting the toddler after she left the room, only to find her son with a bleeding and swollen face, a broken front tooth and a cut on his lip upon her eventual return. 

“If he was here, I think the only question he would have for you is, ‘Why?’’ Woolheater’s mother, Nancy Woolheater said of her grandson prior to her daughter’s sentencing being handed down in court.

”Why, mommy? Why didn’t you protect me? Why didn’t you love me enough? I loved you.’’ the grandmother said.

Anthony Bunn
Pictured, Anthony Bunn.

History of ongoing child abuse:

Anthony’s maternal grandfather Zak Woolheater, who previously had custody of Bunn said his grandson was ‘the most amazing kid you will ever see.’ He said the family first suspected he was being abused in October 2017 when they saw bruises and marks on his head and body.

‘We took action, we took him to Wesley hospital and reported suspicion of child abuse.’ the grandfather told the courtroom.

Of disconcert, court records show Diel’s mother, a registered nurse, calling and urging her daughter to phone 911 when Tony stopped breathing.

Woolheater instead did nothing, with records revealing her later admitting, ‘I did not know if it was dire enough to call for EMS.’

Records show Tony’s abuse was reported to the state’s child welfare agency seven months before he died, but the Department for Children and Families didn’t follow through on key steps that might have saved him, Kansas.com reported.

Tony’s autopsy report showed other injuries that pointed to a pattern of abuse, including a broken nose, arm and rib and bruises on his face, back, stomach and buttocks.

Diehl — who claimed Bunn hurt himself by falling out of bed — was already convicted of second-degree murder and is serving a nearly 49-year prison sentence.