Since I last posted about the murder of 5-year-old West Virginia boy Keaton Boggs, who was allegedly beaten to death in mid-March by his paternal grandmother, aunt, and uncle, I’ve come across more information pertinent to the case.
It was previously unclear which of the three suspects — 48-year-old Michelle Boggs, 29-year-old Chasity Wodzinski, and 32-year-old PJ Wodzinski — were actually tasked with caring for little Keaton. Just to clear that up, here’s the breakdown: Michelle was Keaton’s legal guardian, which is someone who is appointed after the death of a parent and has physical custody of the child. This responsibility includes making medical decisions, school placement, and meeting his basic needs. In 2019, Chasity and PJ Wodzinski were appointed as Keaton’s legal custodians after the death of his father, Christopher Boggs, which means they were legally responsible for Keaton’s finances, including any assets he inherited after Chris’s death.
It’s not common for different people to be appointed as a child’s guardian and his custodian, but that was the case here.
YouTube crime reporter Crime 411 has been covering Keaton’s case and even interviewed Keaton’s mom, Jessika Bishop-Holt, on Tuesday. Jessika described Keaton as a quiet, sweet baby who became a little wilder when he reached about a year of age, at which point he transformed into a fearless little boy with a “watch me do this!” mentality.
Jessika said in the interview that she and Chasity had a decent relationship for the most part and developed a bond while Jessika was with Chasity’s brother, Chris. She said there were, however, always little quarrels going on, and many of those were instigated by Chasity and Chris’s mother, Michelle.
“Michelle was a nasty, nasty person,” Jessika said. “She was never happy about anything.”
Jessika said that Michelle would frequently borrow money from her and Chris, and when she was no longer able to do that, she would steal it instead. Michelle was only happy, according to Jessika, when there was drama and chaos surrounding her, so she was constantly starting problems. “She thrived in misery,” Jessika said.
Jessika said that while he was alive, Chris told her that when he and Chasity were little, their mother and her husband, their stepfather, did not want them around, so the kids were sent to live with the stepfather’s sister. When they did live with Michelle, Chris had told Jessika stories about his childhood, especially the odd and suspicious behavior of his mother.
“He said he remembered ‘being sick,’ but not being sick, when he was little,” Jessika said, adding that Chris and other family members had told her that he was on a lot of seizure medications he did not actually need just so Michelle could claim disability benefits in her son’s name. “She had him in and out of hospitals and doctors and that there was never really anything wrong with him.”
Anyone who has heard other crime stories about parents with Munchausen by proxy — also known as medical child abuse — will be aware that Michelle’s actions as reported by Chris to Jessika exemplify several of its hallmark signs. One of the primary motivations for this behavior can be financial gain, which certainly appears to be the case here.
Michelle reportedly has a history of financial scheming and scamming. One family member has said Michelle once did their taxes, stole their financial information, and used it to make herself a signer on their bank account. Another said Michelle transferred $10,000 from their 401K to herself; when she was caught, they said, Michelle claimed she had a brain tumor and did not know what she was doing.
As to why Michelle might have harmed Keaton when she may have been profiting financially from having custody of him, Jessika said something highly sobering: “When does the burden of a child outweigh the benefit?”
Jessika described Michelle as “not right,” adding, “She would fake things and be, like, overly dramatic about things for attention.”
Describing how she felt about Keaton, Jessika said, “There’s a certain kind of love for your youngest… That was my last baby. That was my last little guy.”
As for Chasity’s husband, PJ, Jessika said she spent plenty of time around him and had come to the conclusion that he was an addict and generally not a nice person. She said he was very aggressive toward a lot of people, including his own children.
For the record, Jessika was open about her own struggles with drug addiction, and as of the interview, she had been clean for 403 days.
Jessika said that in the last months of Keaton’s life, Michelle, Chasity, and PJ intentionally kept her son from her, even going as far as to hide him in their basement with PJ’s mother. They moved around a lot, bouncing from house to house and only settling in the house on Buckhannon Pike within the last couple of months.
During one incident, Jessika said, she caught up with them, showing up where they were staying and demanding to see her son, which sparked a heated argument in the yard. Because she had active warrants, the family took advantage of the situation and threatened to call the police if Jessika didn’t leave. When she got in the car and left, she said, they followed, yelling after her, as she drove away.
“Michelle just didn’t like me,” Jessika said, describing Michelle as a very jealous person. “She just didn’t want me around her son. She didn’t want anyone around her son.”
At Christopher’s funeral in 2019, Jessika said, Michelle blamed her for Chris’s overdose because Jessika and Chris had previously used heroin together. It didn’t seem to matter to Michelle that her son and Jessika had not even been together for a couple of years by that point and that both were reportedly clean and in recovery.
“I took her son from her,” Jessika said of thoughts that had been floating around in her head since Keaton’s death. “Maybe she wanted to take my son from me.”
How unbearably sad. I really feel for Jessika; by all accounts, she was doing everything she could to regain custody of Keaton, but, sadly, he was killed before she reached that goal.
As I mentioned, Chris’s death on June 16, 2019 was caused by a heroin overdose. What was previously unreported was that he had been clean for quite some time prior to his death. He had an excellent relationship with his girlfriend, Cassie, and he and Keaton lived with her, her son, and her mother in Pennsylvania at the time of Chris’s death.
Chris died not even a month after his 30th birthday. He spent the day of his death with his mother, who reportedly thought she was the beneficiary on a new life insurance policy Chris had been issued. After he and Michelle spent the day together, Chris, who hadn’t touched heroin in months, went home, sat down on the toilet with his pants down, and just died.
Although Chris’s death was caused by an overdose of heroin, there were no needles, tourniquet, drugs, or any paraphernalia found on him, with him, or anywhere he could have had access to them. There were also traces of fentanyl in his system.
Several family members suspected foul play, which was only reinforced by Michelle’s behavior at the funeral home, where she screamed and yelled at an employee after she found out that because Chris and Jessika were still legally married, Jessika would be the beneficiary of Chris’s VA benefits.
At the time of Chris’s funeral, Keaton was still living with Cassie, her son, and her mother. At the funeral, however, Michelle took Keaton, put him in the car, and left with him, not even having the decency to let him say goodbye to the people he considered his family.
Keaton immediately went to live with Chasity, PJ, and their three kids. Michelle, who was essentially homeless, went to stay with a friend for three months. During those three months, Michelle never visited Keaton. She was only interested in him to go to court to obtain his legal guardianship and then apply for benefits.
She never told Chasity about this.
Michelle soon received her first check, which was in the amount of $2,100. Somehow, Chasity and PJ found out. They told her to hand over the check or come and take Keaton. To shut them up, she gave them $1,500 to make necessary repairs on a home they were waiting to move into.
She then gambled the rest of the money away.
The only time she saw Keaton during the three months she lived with her friend was when she sought out Chasity to ask her for cigarette money. She was warm and loving toward Chasity’s children, but she did not even acknowledge Keaton, who hid behind Chasity for the duration of the encounter.
In October, Michelle moved in with the Wodzinski family. At this time, PJ was unemployed. So she could apply for SSI benefits, Chasity took her son, who has severe behavioral problems, off all of his medication. Reportedly, the young boy, their middle child, is aggressive and violent and has been described as “problematic.” He is said to have kicked Chasity in the stomach when she was pregnant with his younger sister.
On January 6, 2020, in what appears to be an attempt to either seek attention or build an alibi, Michelle sent a family member a series of photos showing bruises all over Keaton’s head and body. She told the undisclosed recipient, with whom she hadn’t spoken recently and who said the message was out of the blue, that Keaton had been hurting himself since his father’s death and that she had him in therapy a couple of times a week. It is not clear, although it seems highly unlikely, if Keaton was actually seeing a therapist.
During this time, Cassie and her family were begging to see Keaton, because they still considered him part of their family and truly loved and missed him. They were summarily refused.
In February, Chasity scheduled an appointment with a specialist to come to the house to help her daughter with some of her milestones. It was initially reported that this person worked for CPS, but that has been proven false. When the person was scheduled to arrive, Chasity “allowed” Keaton to sleep over at the home of Michelle’s mother, Keaton’s great-grandmother, Judy Boggs. It is believed that Chasity was trying to get Keaton out of the house so the visitor would not report his injuries to CPS. This reasoning seems especially likely since Chasity had been telling people recently that she couldn’t afford to lose her son or Keaton, both of whom were essentially income for the family due to the benefits the boys received.
At Judy’s house, the multiple bruises covering Keaton from head to toe did not go unnoticed. Judy’s nephew and his wife immediately wanted to call CPS, but Judy asked them not to, telling them that she would take care of the problem. She did nothing. The family members called CPS despite Judy’s request, giving a report to an intake worker. The only information they did not provide was Michelle’s address, because they did not know it.
CPS never followed up.
Michelle’s nephew and his wife have received a lot of backlash on Facebook over this, many skeptics accusing them of lying about contacting CPS at all, but Crime 411 got access to their telephone records and has confirmed that they did call CPS on January 10 of this year. It is possible CPS simply couldn’t locate the family, but Michelle’s nephew and his wife have not received any confirmation or documentation from the agency about their report or any follow-up attempted.
In March, Keaton was fatally injured.
Jessika, who has been clean for over 14 months and is the head of a sober living home, will receive some of Keaton’s ashes after he is cremated, even though she did not have legal rights to her son. She has created a GoFundMe campaign to pay for a memorial for Keaton, where she can visit, talk to him, and cry when she needs to. You can donate to the campaign here.
To date, no bail has been set for the three accused murderers.
Sources: Crime411, Justice For Keaton Facebook group