Fund set up to aid family
Within hours of Wyatt Pruitt’s death Tuesday, Sherry Vanderhoff was arranging a vigil for the 3-year-old.
The loss of the child, who authorities say died of blunt force trauma at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, deeply saddened Vanderhoff.
She said there were photos of Pruitt at the vigil, which included song, prayer and many tears. Attendees left stuffed animals and flowers in memory of the child.
“I know Wyatt’s grandfather, Chris,” Vanderhoff said. “It’s a very devastating situation that happened and being so close to home and having children, it’s just very heartbreaking.
“I know the family does not have the funds for the funeral or any insurance to cover the arrangements.”
To help, Vanderhoff has set up the Friends of Wyatt Memorial Fund at Citizens Bank of Forsyth County for those wishing to contribute money toward the boy’s funeral expenses. The fund will be open for about a month.
“People have already been donating,” Vanderhoff said.
To make a donation, visit any Citizens Bank of Forsyth County Branch and ask to contribute to the Friends of Wyatt Memorial Fund.
-- Jennifer Sami
NORTH FORSYTH -- The suspect in the death a 3-year-old boy Tuesday in north Forsyth has been charged with murder.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced that 25-year-old Christopher E. Truett of Butts County faces one count each of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated battery in the death of Wyatt Pruitt.
Truett, who was reportedly babysitting Pruitt at a home on Roseman Landing in the Bridgetowne subdivision, had previously been charged with cruelty to children in the first degree and reckless conduct.
Truett remains in custody at the Forsyth County Detention Center, where he has been held since his arrest Tuesday afternoon following a brief manhunt. He was denied bond Wednesday during an appearance in Magistrate Court.
Sheriff Duane Piper said Pruitt’s death was the result of blunt force trauma, though he declined to go into further detail.
“I don’t want to damage the case,” Piper said. “Equally as important to the arrest of this gentleman is the successful prosecution of someone who would do this to a 3-year-old child.”
Piper said he is confident the autopsy results are not indicative of an accidental death or any type of fall, adding that Truett’s story is not consistent with the findings.
“This 3-year-old child was subjected to blunt force trauma severe enough to cause bruising in his little body from the front that extended all the way back to his spinal column,” Piper said.
According to the sheriff, Pruitt was found about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday lying unresponsive on the couch in the living room of the home where he lived with his mother, Dawn Shutts.
There had reportedly been some communication between Shutts, who was at work, and Truett prior to that time. When Shutts returned home, she had Truett call 911 and began administering CPR to her son.
The boy was pronounced dead about 11:45 a.m. at Northside Hospital-Forsyth, according to the sheriff’s office.
It was during this time that Truett reportedly ran into some woods near the subdivision, which is off Hwy. 369 and just west of Ga. 400. He was arrested a couple of hours later after a search that involved the sheriff’s SWAT team.
Piper said Friday that the couple met on the Internet and had been communicating online until about three weeks ago, when they began dating in person.
It is not clear if Truett had taken care of the boy previously during their relationship.
According to the sheriff’s office, Truett has prior convictions for burglary and theft by receiving, both from 2007 in Butts County, which is southeast of Atlanta.