Robert Grant Manwill
July 26, 2002 - July 15, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial
On July 24, 2009 at about 9:30 p.m., a little boy was reported missing.

Robert Manwill was supposedly gone and his mother had no idea where he could be. This story is very close to home, only about 40 miles from where I live. Once again, the story had an ending that would shock everyone when police arrested his mother and her boyfriend for his murder.

On August 19, 2009, Daniel Ehrlick Jr. and Melissa Scott Jenkins were in court in Ada County, in Boise Idaho, for an arraignment hearing. Both of these people had been arrested the day before on first degree murder charges in the death of Robert Manwill.

Melissa Scott Jenkins was no stranger to legal trouble when it came to her children. In October of 2008, after hitting her baby sons head on a hard surface, deliberately, she was charged with a misdemeanor of injury to a child. The baby's skull was fractured and for her crime, Melissa was fined $75.50 and given a 29 day sentence of work release as well as being put on probation for two years. At that time, someone had the good sense to take the baby away from her, she lost custody of her son.

The father of that baby, Daniel Edward Ehrlick, had also had his troubles with the law. Charges of burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia landed him in prison. Daniel was also not allowed to be alone with Robert's half sister.

Charles Manwill, Robert's biological father, has had custody of him since January of 2008. Melissa had not been able to care for him, though she did have visitation rights and Robert was with her the night he went missing.

Police had taken possession of vehicles and other evidence from the home stating that all appearances were pointing to Robert having been the victim of a "tragic event". The yard of another South Boise home, which was a rental and occupied by a friend of Daniel Ehrlick, was searched.

On August 3, 2009, the body of a child was found floating in the New York Canal in Boise, Idaho, on August 5, 2009, the child's body was positively identified as Robert Manwill.

Robert was described as a "hugger" who had no problem hugging his teachers and friends:

"He was a sweet, sweet boy, always wanting hugs, and hugging other kids" 
Christy Morales -Robert's second grade teacher

Robert spent most of his time in New Plymouth, Idaho, with his father, Charles Manwill, though he also spent time with his mother in Boise. A child who loved to wear super hero T-shirts and loafers that were too big for him, he was funny and was full of funny stories and comments. Christy said that he had a "quirky" way of answering questions:

"He'd throw out his hands and say, 'Wellllll ...He was very verbal that way. For his age, 
he was very verbal. He'd go into these explanations"

At his school in New Plymouth, a teaching assistant who helped Robert and some of his classmates with math said Robert gave her a hug when he left the lunch room, every day:

"He'd lean his head on you, and say, 'I love you"

At the Meridian Speedway in Meridian, Idaho, there was a moment of silence for Robert and his family, before the cars started racing for the day. Drivers had put green ribbons on their cars and Robert's Uncle, Kyle Burrill had a picture of him on his car. Robert used to watch his Uncle race there.

"He loves it, he loves racing"
Trish Burrill - Robert's Aunt

Just a few hours earlier, people had walked from the apartment complex where Robert had last been seen alive, to the Vista Avenue bridge, in memory of Robert. They walked over the New York Canal, a few miles from where Robert had been found. The walk was done 11 times, one for each day that Robert had been missing. The walkers said they wanted to show their support for Robert's family:

"We talked to the aunt and uncle yesterday, and the mom. It was really hard but we wanted to show them that we're doing this for you"
Heather Fieseler

"It's sadness for me, but it's also closure for the community" 
Michelle Walker

On September 3, 2009, Daniel Ehrlick and Melissa Jenkins both plead not guilty to first degree murder in the death of Robert Manwill. Each of the defendants didn't say a word during their hearing, not guilty pleas were entered for them, by their lawyers. Judge Darla Williamson heard the pleas as both of them came before her, separately.

The Grand Jury wrote that Daniel was accused of severely beating Robert while Melissa watched, doing nothing to stop him and then lied to cover up what had taken place. The Grand Jury also found that Robert had been subjected to "escalating physical violence" which eventually caused his death. Also in the findings was information stating that Daniel had become violent towards Robert as early as June of 2009, and that Melissa his Robert from Government authorities and would not let him be seen by anyone so that they could not see he was hurt.

The Grand Jury stated that  Daniel killed Robert by the "intentional application of torture" and by "inflicting extreme or prolonged pain with the intent to cause suffering, to execute vengeance, or to satisfy some sadistic inclination, by inflicting repeated acts of blunt force trauma to the abdomen and/or head of Robert Manwill." In their findings, they listed that Melissa had left Robert with Daniel even though she knew what he was doing to him.

The state had until October of 2009 to decide if they will seek the death penalty against Daniel and Melissa. A hearing was set for November 5, 2009 which was when a trial date would most likely be set. Daniel and Melissa waived their rights to a speedy trial.


In September of 2011, Daniel Ehrlick, who was 38 years old at the time,  was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole,  for what he had done to Robert Manwill. Daniel had been found guilty of first degree murder in June. There have been very few stories I have read where the killer actually gets REAL life in prison, they almost always get life with the possibility of parole sentence. THIS sentence makes my heart smile.

What doesn't make me smile is the sentence that Melissa Jenkins was given after pleading guilty to aiding and
abetting second degree murder. Melissa was allowed to plea in order to get a reduced sentence  of ONLY 25
years in prison. In court, when she had to face Robert's biological father, Charles, Melissa said it was her fault that Robert was not "With us anymore" and that she would repent for his death for the rest of her life. Charles didn't even look at her as she apologized.

Death occurred in the state of Idaho

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