Mother accused of setting 4-year-old son on fire

Amelia Distasio (Photo courtesy Milwaukee Co. Jail)

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Prosecutors allege a Milwaukee woman killed her 4-year-old son by binding him with belts and setting him on fire in a bathtub in their apartment.

Amelia DiStasio, 23, faces a charge of first-degree intentional homicide. She remains jailed with bail set at $400,000.

According to the complaint, authorities were called about smoke at DiStasio's south side apartment Thursday morning and found her son Antonio's burned and lifeless body in the bathtub.

His hands had been bound behind his back with several belts, and a plastic garbage bag was over his head. An open bottle of cooking oil was in the bathroom.

“It's impossible to describe it. I got to hope that Antonio is in heaven,” said Antonio's grandfather Ralph DiStasio. "It's hard to accept, but with all the prayers and everything, and family and friends, it's a little easier.”

A neighbor allegedly told police she heard the boy yell, "Please mommy stop! I don't do it again!"

The mother was not home. A witness says she saw DiStasio climb out of the apartment window and run away.

A police officer later found DiStasio walking.

On DiStasio's mobile phone, investigators say there were searches for "how do canabals [sic] die" and "how to kill a canabal [sic]."

Police also say a message board was visited on DiStasio's phone with posts about killing cannibals with fire, stating cannibals "often like to bath in oil."

At a vigil for the boy Sunday, Antonio's uncle was heartbroken.

“He was a good kid. Always smiling,” said the uncle.

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