Father of 'Wylie's Angel' says he's devastated

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by MONIKA DIAZ and JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA-TV

Posted on April 26, 2010 at 9:18 AM

WYLIE — The father of "Wylie's Angel," the little boy who was found dead near Lake Lavon on April 15, is making plans to come to North Texas.

In a telephone interview with News 8, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jerry Isgrigg said he was devastated when he learned about what happened to his six-year-old son, Gerren Joseph Isgrigg.

Gerren's grandmother, 63-year-old Darlene Phillips, has been jailed and charged with his murder.

Isgrigg, who is stationed in California, said he learned about the fate of his son from detectives who questioned him and then requested a DNA sample from him.

"I can't get my head around it, any way, shape or form," Sgt. Isgrigg said.

He told us the last time he saw his Gerren was three years ago at a hospital in Dallas.

Sgt. Isgrigg told News 8 that he and his ex-wife grew apart soon after he was deployed to Iraq. He said she had sole custody after their 2006 divorce.

Soon after that, Gerren's mother reportedly left the child in the care of his grandmother.

The Phillips recently lived in a Garland home 10 miles from where Gerren was found. Within the past week, they moved to a motel in The Colony.

According to Sgt. Isgrigg, the terms of his divorce from Gerren's mother made it difficult for him.

"I would have done anything to get him in a heartbeat if they would have called," he said.

Isgrigg said he didn't want to comment on the arrest of his ex-mother-in-law. He is waiting to sit down with detectives to discuss the case.

Phillips remains in the Collin County Jail. Her husband, Patrick Phillips, went to see her on Sunday morning. News 8 caught up with him and his son at a motel in The Colony.

"Right now, I've got things to do," Phillips said. "We are getting evicted. They gave us until noon tomorrow."

Phillips and his son claim that Darlene Phillips told them that when she left Gerren in the park he was still alive. Phillips said his wife loved the child and provided 24-hour care.

"She left him some place where he would be found," the son said. "She fed him and everything. The kid was a complete vegetable the whole time before this. It's not like it's being portrayed."

Phillips' son said they had been told that Darlene Phillips had taken Gerren to a social worker.

Police still aren't saying how the six-year-old died; there was no signs of trauma. But they firmly blame the blame on his grandmother.

"Circumstances she was in control of led to his murder," said Wylie police detective Venece Perepiczka.

Gerren's father said he doesn't know what to believe, but he is keenly aware of all the love Wylie and thousands of strangers have expressed for his son.

"The support, the care, and love they have shown for him — it's beyond words," Sgt. Isgrigg said. "I'd hug every one of them."

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com and jbetz@wfaa.com

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