A Mills man charged with child abuse and attempted murder of a child pleaded not guilty to all charges on Thursday in Natrona County District Court.
An affidavit in the case states that Ryan Hilyard and his wife, Sarah, drugged, beat and kicked a child in their home.
Hilyard faces three felony charges for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child abuse. His wife is charged with the same plus one additional count of child abuse. She pleaded not guilty by mental illness at her arraignment in January.
Court documents allege that the couple were physically abusive, forced the child to do degrading and exhausting exercises, and withheld food.
Police became aware of the situation after Sarah Hilyard brought the unresponsive 12-year-old child to the hospital where scans revealed bleeding and swelling in his brain, bowel distention and a collapsed left ventricle in his heart. He also had bruising on much of his body and several injuries consistent with blunt force non-accidental trauma.
“Right now, if we don’t do anything he’ll die very quickly,” a doctor told Sarah Hilyard according to court documents.
Sarah Hilyard told doctors the injuries were from a fall down the stairs and a fight with the child’s 10-year-old brother.