Brianna Williams waited for Sidney Landers to fall asleep.
Three-year-old Morgan Koepp had spent the day with her mother’s boyfriend and two of his children, but when she returned home, Williams noticed the toddler was swollen and bruised.
Williams pressed Landers about the cause of the toddler’s injuries but was refused an answer that was straightforward; instead, the 33-year-old allegedly grew angry over the confrontation. Fearing the situation might escalate, Williams waited for Landers to fall asleep before whisking her daughter off to the hospital.
There, the extent of Morgan’s injuries came to light; the little girl had five broken ribs and multiple bruises on the back and front of her torso. Still at the hospital hours later, Morgan suffered two cardiac arrests and had to be placed on life support.
In a post on GoFundMe, Williams explained Morgan’s wounds weren’t healing the way they were supposed to. Doctors then discovered the 3-year-old had also contracted Group A Strep, also known as necrotizing fasciitis, a “flesh-eating bacteria.”GoFundMe
Morgan was in intensive care for two days before her family was informed she wouldn’t pull through. The toddler had undergone surgery to remove the bacteria causing her skin to decay — an injury believed to have been suffered when the bacteria got pushed into her skin through trauma — but she had bleeding in the brain, and her heart no longer had movement.
On December 13, Morgan’s family said their goodbyes before taking the toddler off life support.
Now, as Morgan’s family struggles to cope with the tragic death of the toddler, her mother is desperately trying to understand how Landers, a father of three, could have allegedly injured her daughter so severely out of “frustration” so as to ultimately kill her.GoFundMe
According to KSAZ, Landers told police he grew “frustrated” with Morgan when she refused to be still while he was changing her. While spending the day with Landers and his two boys, the toddler reportedly had “several accidents in her pants and would not sit still when he cleaned her,” according to court documents.
Landers admitted to holding his hand over the little girl’s mouth while she screamed during her diaper change and had to use force, though he did not intend to cause her injuries.
In an interview with Heavy, Williams said her boyfriend never showed any red flags during their relationship to suggest he was capable of abuse:
“From the start of time of when we were together there was absolutely no violence …not drugs, no heavy drinking. His boys and Morgan were happy and healthy kids who grew to love each other. No one saw or expected anything like this to ever happen from my ex’s family, his friends or even my family. According to his sister, during Morgan’s 3rd birthday she stated that was the healthiest and happiest Sidney had ever looked or been.”
Williams’ father, Tim Williams, agreed. According to Heavy, Morgan’s grandfather, “Papa,” said by all accounts Landers was a good father. Williams said he never saw any warning signs in the “several” times he met Landers:
“There were never any warning signs.”
Tim Williams, however, said in retrospect he wishes he had investigated Landers’ past more thoroughly:
“But now I blame myself. I should’ve done a background check on him. Because we were told after Morgan died by his [Landers’] ex father-in-law, that he had several restraining orders brought against him in the the past.”
According to 3TV/CBS 5, court paperwork indicated Landers is the subject of an “active” order of protection, though no additional details have been provided. The documents also indicate a prior arrest, though the nature of the incident has not been made publicly available.GoFundMe
Briana Williams recounted the day of her daughter’s injuries, telling Heavy when she woke up on December 10, Landers had already taken Morgan and two of his younger sons out of the house, leaving her and his eldest son behind. Williams explained Landers needed to get a new cellphone that day, but around noontime, the two boys came running into the home without their father or Morgan.
Williams asked about Landers and her daughter’s whereabouts, and the boys said Landers went to get a new phone and brought the toddler with him. Williams claimed throughout the day her phone calls went straight to voicemail until Landers finally answered around 5 p.m., telling her he was running errands and “figuring a few things out.”
Williams insisted he bring Morgan home and then finish his errands, to which he agreed, though he didn’t return with Morgan until around 7 p.m.GoFundMe
“When he got home and I saw Morgan I instantly asked what happened and why her face was swollen and bruised up. I never received a straight answer. I attempted to leave the apartment but Morgan got sick all over both of us. I showered her and I then laid down to calm her down and make sure she didn’t throw up again due to not wanting her choking on it while driving.
Sidney fell asleep and Morgan and I immediately left for the emergency room.”
An update on GoFundMe references criticism Williams has drawn in the wake of her daughter’s death, claiming the mother has faced backlash for perhaps not recognizing alleged violent tendencies in Landers earlier.GoFundMe
A friend of Williams “spoke out” in defense of Williams, writing:
She would have left in the second she thought something was amiss.
She is grieving her daughter is gone, taken by a horrid monster that showed NO SIGNS.
Landers is being held on child abuse charges at Maricopa County Jail, and police say he will face new charges of homicide.