Toddler dies after apparent beating

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A local 2-year-old did not survive a severe beating authorities said he received at the hands of his teen babysitter late Friday.

The toddler, Ethan Bigham, according to multiple sources, remained at Women and Children’s Hospital Monday, where multiple sources said he was on life support, and the family was awaiting the chance to donate his organs.

First responders from the town of Marilla Fire Department and EMS were called at about 9:30 p.m. Friday to a mobile home park off Hemstreet Road on a report of a toddler who fell out of his crib.

The child was taken to Women and Children’s Hospital, and was admitted already in cardiac arrest just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Multiple sources said he had been on life support from then until he was taken off of it.

On Sunday, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office arrested Devon VanDerWege, 17, who was reportedly watching the boy. He was charged and arraigned on first-degree assault. After the toddler was taken off of life support, officials said they are looking at additional charges against VanDerWege.

Medical officials began an autopsy on Bigham Tuesday. The next day, his death was declared a homicide, as he died from blunt force trauma, according to a source close to the investigation.

VanDerWege is in custody without bail. He’s due back in the town of Marilla Court Thursday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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