Dante Mullinix's mother to return to court on child endangerment charge

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

The mother of Dante Mullinix is due to face a judge next week as the spotlight from her 2-year-old son’s death swings to her.

Leah Mullinix, 26, is charged with a felony count of endangering the welfare of a child, with the charge largely related to her neglecting medical treatment for Dante Mullinix before he died in September 2018.

The case, filed three years ago in January 2019, was on hold during a lengthy process that culminated in Tyree Bowie, the man prosecutors accused of killing the boy, going to trial last month.

A jury acquitted Bowie of murder and child endangerment charges after four weeks of testimony.

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Leah Mullinix

Now the focus shifts to Mullinix as her case looks set to move forward. And this as Bowie’s supporters, people who’ve followed the case, and even jurors from the trial have called for her to face harsher charges.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in the York County Court of Common Pleas. She’s free on an unsecured bond.

Mullinix met Bowie in August 2018 while she and Dante were homeless in York — they largely lived out of her car that summer as she parked it at a couple of places.

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Tyree Bowie, seated bottom center, joins members of the jury from his trial speaking to the York Dispatch in West Manchester on Saturday Jan.7, 2023.

She and Bowie spent time together, and Bowie took steps to help the two, according to trial testimony. That included helping the mother and child enter a domestic violence shelter downtown.

Bowie testified he had seen bruises on Dante and asked Mullinix about them multiple times.

At the same time, Dante had a genital infection, which worsened as it went untreated for weeks.

Dante Mullinix

Shelter staff complained about Dante’s relentless crying, York County Children Youth & Families got involved, and Mullinix was taken to WellSpan York Hospital so her son could be examined as that September began, according to trial testimony.

Bowie, Mullinix and Dante hung out together on Sept. 6, 2018. By the evening, Mullinix said she had a migraine and needed help, so they took her to the hospital.

Bowie agreed to watch Dante while she waited for treatment.

He took the boy back to the home where he was staying, stopping at a gas station along the way. He and Mullinix also kept in touch through instant messages and video calls, except for a window of about 16 minutes.

Prosecutors alleged that in that time, while alone with Dante, Bowie beat and brutalized the child. Bowie disputed that, saying Dante choked on a cookie he gave him while they drove back to the hospital to see Mullinix.

Tyree Bowie, of York City, during an interview at The York Dispatch in West Manchester Township, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Dante, he described at trial, passed out in his car’s back seat. Bowie dragged him to the driver’s seat, tried to dig the cookie out of his throat, gave him CPR and attempted resuscitation as he continued to drive down George Street toward York Hospital.

When they got to the hospital, Bowie carried Dante, limp and lifeless, to the emergency department doors where Mullinix stood waiting for them.

Medical staff worked to revive Dante. They got him breathing again, but he didn’t regain consciousness. Bruises and injuries were documented on his body, joining older ones recorded earlier that week. He was transferred to Hershey Medical Center that night and died nine days later.

The grave of Dante Mullinix, 2, at Mount Rose Cemetery in Spring Garden Township, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. Mullinix died of a traumatic brain injury as well as suffocation and strangulation in 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Prosecutors used the new injuries, including the autopsy opinion of traumatic brain injury, as the basis to charge Bowie with murder.

A competing medical opinion for the defense found Dante died from choking which cut off oxygen to his brain.

Doctors also learned Dante’s infection was actually genital herpes, which neither Bowie nor Mullinix have. One of his wrists had been broken sometime prior to September 2018 and had gone untreated and healed wrong.

The jury found Bowie not guilty of first- and third-degree murder as well as child endangerment following a two-hour deliberation process on Dec. 30.

Days after the acquittal, members indicated they leaned toward evidence and testimony that painted Mullinix as primarily responsible for abusing and neglecting Dante that summer, leading up to Sept. 6.

Mullinix testified the child endangerment charge, filed against her in 2019, related to her neglecting treatment for Dante’s genital infection and for leaving him in Bowie’s care.

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The York County District Attorney’s Office and Mullinix’s attorney did not return messages Wednesday seeking comment on whether her case could or would be changed.

Mullinix also testified she wasn’t promised anything or offered consideration or leniency in exchange for her testimony at trial.

She did indicate that police or the district attorney’s office helped her get out of York County Prison on $10,000 unsecured bail in 2019.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.