Special Reports

Indictment: Daniel Ehrlick Jr. tortured and beat Robert Manwill to death

Daniel Ehrlick Jr. and his girlfriend, Melissa Scott Jenkins, appeared in an Ada County Courtroom in Boise Wednesday Aug. 19, 2009 for an arraignment hearing. Ehrlick and Jenkins were arrested on Tuesday Aug. 18, 2009 on first-degree murder charges in the death of Jenkins' 8-year-old son Robert Manwill.
Daniel Ehrlick Jr. and his girlfriend, Melissa Scott Jenkins, appeared in an Ada County Courtroom in Boise Wednesday Aug. 19, 2009 for an arraignment hearing. Ehrlick and Jenkins were arrested on Tuesday Aug. 18, 2009 on first-degree murder charges in the death of Jenkins' 8-year-old son Robert Manwill. Shawn Raecke / Idaho Statesman

Eight-year-old Robert Manwill was killed by Daniel Ehrlick Jr., who torturedand beat him to death while Manwill's mother, Melissa Jenkins, hid her sonfrom government authorities who might have helped him.

So says an Ada County grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday morning in4th District Court.

Ehrlick Jr., 36, inflicted repeated acts of blunt-force trauma to theabdomen and/or the head of Manwill with his hands, knees, fists and/or feetand/or by other means of physical force, physical abuse or emotional abuse,according to the indictment. The beatings caused bruises, abdominal bleedingand injuries and head injuries that prompted Manwill's death on or about July 24.

The indictment alleges that Ehrlick Jr. intentionally tortured Manwill "withthe intent to cause suffering, to execute vengeance or to satisfy somesadistic inclination by inflicting on Robert G. Manwill extreme or prolongedacts of brutality with the intent to cause suffering."

Jenkins, 30, a mother of three, had knowledge of the beatings and repeatedlyhid her son from authorities and others who might have intervened. She alsofailed in her duty to seek medical attention for her son's injuries, despiteknowing Manwill "was being subjected to escalating physical violence” byEhrlick, according to the indictment.

Neither entered a plea and are expected to do so on Sept. 1.

An Ada County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Jenkins and Ehrlick Jr. oncharges of first-degree murder. Both also are charged with failing to reporta death. Police have provided no details about the evidence they have.

In Idaho, first-degree murder is punishable by up to life in prison ordeath.

Local, state and federal agencies logged 9,000 hours in the search andinvestigation after Robert was reported missing July 24, Deputy Boise ChiefJim Kerns said. Thousands of people volunteered in the 10-day search:“Probably no other case in Boise history has touched so many people,” Kernssaid Tuesday. Robert’s body was found Aug. 3 in the New York Canal nearKuna.

Prosecutors have 60 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty. Policeasked the public for information about the pair’s activities in the weekbefore Robert was reported missing.

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