Mom thanks police on anniversary of son’s injury

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published November 2, 2018

 Erica Hammel; her son Wyatt, 6; and Detective Cpl. Don Seidl meet at the Warren Police Department Nov. 1, five years after Wyatt suffered injuries at the hands of a convicted child abuser.

Erica Hammel; her son Wyatt, 6; and Detective Cpl. Don Seidl meet at the Warren Police Department Nov. 1, five years after Wyatt suffered injuries at the hands of a convicted child abuser.

Photo by Brian Louwers

WARREN — Five years after her baby boy was nearly shaken to death by a convicted child abuser, Erica Hammel met with the detective who helped put the woman behind bars.

Hammel, 30, of St. Clair Shores, and her son Wyatt, 6, went to the Christopher M. Wouters Police Headquarters in Warren Nov. 1 to say thank you to Detective Cpl. Don Seidl and the team of investigators who worked the case.

“I had kind of thanked everybody over the years, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, just his different therapists and everything like that. Somebody I never thanked was the Warren Police Department and just everybody that was a part of getting justice for his case,” Hammel said.

Wyatt was left with injuries including cognitive impairment and blindness in his left eye when he was shaken as a 1-year-old by his father’s girlfriend. On Nov. 1, 2013, he was transported from a home in the 8400 block of Studebaker Avenue to Children’s Hospital in Detroit, where he was eventually treated by a neurosurgeon. The injuries that resulted from the abuse included a subdural hemorrhage and swelling of the brain, torn upper gums, bruises, a retinal hemorrhage in both eyes, and broken ribs.

“It was one of my first major cases that I had to deal with, and seeing Wyatt in the hospital hooked up to all these tubes and all these machines, it was definitely very gut-wrenching,” Seidl said.

In a tragic twist, the suspect had just been convicted in the 37th District Court of fourth-degree child abuse two weeks before Wyatt sustained his injuries. In recent years, Hammel has been working to move what she calls “Wyatt’s Law” through the Michigan Legislature in an effort to require registration for convicted abusers.

“It was pretty traumatic once I found out that she had this previous history, because the rumors were true; my gut feeling was true. I knew at that point I had to do something,” Hammel said.

Wyatt’s abuser was ordered to serve 33 months to 10 years in prison and remains incarcerated, while Hammel vowed to continue the push to get a statewide child abuser registry in place.

“These are the worst crimes out there, and abusers abuse again,” Hammel said.

She said the decision made by first responders to take her son to Children’s Hospital likely saved his life that day.

Wyatt currently attends school in Warren, where he is now starting to speak.

“It’s emotionally overwhelming. I am just so ecstatic that he’s here today,” Seidl said. “Because that day I walked into the hospital, they didn’t think he was going to survive.”

Seidl presented Wyatt with a bag of fun stuff from the Warren Police Department and a new police toy truck that he and his wife bought for him.

“He’s a miracle and he’s still here today,” Hammel said of her son. “I believe Seidl is changing the world. I’m so proud to be his mom, and so thankful.”