"Our initial goal is always to work with the family and if they're cooperative -- which this family was -- then the idea is to work to resolve the issue," said Paee. "When it became clear in January 2008 that they weren't following through with our demands, like enrolling the kids in school and getting a doctor, we told them we'd go to court."
Paee said that was the last her agency heard of the family, which later moved to Cleveland, was that they had moved out of the Trumble department's jurisdiction.
"I don't know if they moved as a result of [the threats to take them to court] or if they'd planned all along to relocate," said Paee.
Asked whether Willie looked as sick as his aunt described him to be, Paee said that agents would visit the home several times a month and never saw anything unusual.
"The worker observed him, saw him watching television," said Paee. "We never saw him in a sickly state."
Slawinski said she's convinced that department officials must have been shown her nephew's brother.
"If they didn't notice that boy was sick then they're crazy," said Slawinski. "Maybe they were shown a different kid when they visited."
Mason, the prosecutor, called the boy's death one of the most "tragic cases of abuse" he's ever seen.
"Honestly when I read the file for the first time my eyes watered," he said.
If convicted, Robinson and Hussing each face up to 10 years in prison. They will be arraigned March 25, according to Mason.
"Certainly I want to see a conviction and a message sent out to the rest of the world that you've got to take care of your kids and if you don't, you're going to get prosecuted," said Mason.
Willie's aunt, choking back tears, said that she too hopes to see a conviction, even if it means her sister will be sent to prison.
"I want to see my sister come out of this a better person than who she is now," said Slawinski. "It breaks my heart but I don't care if she goes to prison."
"I never, ever want to see another family go through what this one has."