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Mother charged after 5-year-old's body found in vehicle

Sagal Abdirshid Hussein (Photo source: Brown Co. Jail)
Sagal Abdirshid Hussein (Photo source: Brown Co. Jail)
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WARNING: Some readers might find elements of this story disturbing.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) -- A Howard mother is now charged in the death of her 5-year-old son, who had lifelong medical issues.

Sagal Hussein, 25, was arrested in late March, two months after investigators initially tried locating her child, Josias Marquez.

A criminal complaint shows Josias was likely dead for months before his body was found in a duffel bag in the trunk of Hussein's car on March 31st.

Josias was wheelchair bound, blind, depended on others to eat, and diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, according to medical records listed in the criminal complaint.

On January 28th, Hussein told investigators Josias was with his father, Miguel Marcelo, in Michigan. Hussein was being questioned because two days earlier a deputy was called to her Howard apartment complex to check on her other two children who were outside, unsupervised.

The criminal complaint states on March 25th the sheriff's department “began focusing on the whereabouts of Josias.”

In the 57 days between those dates, the criminal complaint shows Child Protective Services had been "continuing the investigation" and "made numerous attempts to identify and locate" Josias and his father.

The criminal complaint doesn't list any dates, but at some point during those 57 days, Child Protective Services checked with Michigan for school and medical records, but came up empty handed. The caseworker also checked in with the child's previous school in Suamico, but it hadn't seen him since before Christmas break.

Despite Josias' serious medical issues, his last medical record was from 2018, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint also shows the caseworker maintained contact with Hussein during the 57-day period, but she provided no help.

The criminal complaint shows at the same time the sheriff's department became re-involved with the case, the father of Hussein's other two children, James Marquez, came into the picture for investigators. He lives in California and claimed to be Josias' father as well. He said he knew nothing about a Miguel Marcelo in Michigan or that Josias might be with him.

The complaint shows Marquez told investigators he doesn't want to believe that Sagal would ever intentionally hurt Josias, but he could see her stop providing care for him and that she never liked caring for him.

A medical examiner says the body was decomposed, mummified, and was significantly undernourished. The criminal complaint shows the body weighed 20 pounds when it was found, but the boy had previously weighed more than 30 pounds.

The complaint offers details on missed medical appointments, immunizations not administered, and medications not taken.

Hussein is being held on a $500,000 cash bond and is due back in court May 7.

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FOX 11 tried interviewing the sheriff's department to find out more about the steps taken in the two months Josias was unaccounted for. A captain told us they first wanted to check with the district attorney's office, but had not heard back.

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