Michael Van Pulliam

 July 27, 2009 - April 22, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial

What would cause a grown man to grab a two year old boy by the wrist and swing him so hard into a lamp and a wall that it would cause injuries so severe, the child dies? Jarrod Wayne Rudder, who was 24 years old at the time could tell you, because that is exactly what he did to Michael Pulliam while his mother was at work. A 911 call came into the Police station at about 11:58 p.m. in April of 2012, an ambulance was sent to the home where Amanda Howell lived with her son Michael.  Michael was found to be unresponsive. A neighbor said that when he was carried out of the home, Michael was not moving at all. Michael was taken to Memorial Hospital in Carbondale and later transferred by helicopter to Children's Hospital in St. Louis for treatment. Michael was bleeding from his brain and had many fractures and contusions. Jarrod was arrested and charged with first degree murder when Michael died.

A press conference was held and Attorney Michael L. Wepsiec was there with Sheriff Robert Burns, though the Sheriff did not comment, Michael did and though he didn't use Michael's last name, people knew which child he was referring to:

"I am alleging that the defendant, without legal justification, grabbed Michael by the wrist and
swung him by the arm, causing Michael to strike both a lamp and a wall with his head, thereby
causing the fatal injuries"

Neighbors said that it was not uncommon for Amanda to leave Michael with Jarrod when she went to work and that whenever Michael was outside, there was always someone with him. Family members said they had called the Department Of Child And Family Services with complaints of abuse and neglect, in the past and DCFS always found nothing to be concerned with, even though another child had been removed from the home in 2008. Michael had a brother who was one year old and he was removed from the house that day. Detectives were interviewing people to find any information about who had seen Michael that day and Michael Wepsiec said:

"As a parent, I feel a lot of pain for that child. The investigation into this homicide is ongoing and
consequently the facts are still being uncovered. Rule 3.6 of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules
Of Professional Conduct prohibits me from discussing much more about the case"

Michael Wepsiec

In January of 2012, after after a Psychiatric examination it was determined that Jarrod Wayne Rudder was mentally stable and fit to stand trial. Jarrod was saying that he accidentally lost his grip on Michael while swinging him around and that he had also fallen in the bathroom earlier in the day which caused him to hit his head. Michael had at least six broken ribs and a wrist injury and Doctors said the injuries were consistent with child abuse.

The Public Defender, Margaret Degen and her assistant were going to speak to the Medical Examiner. Slides from the autopsy had been requested and would be viewed. Jarrod was in jail on $1 million bail.


JOHNSTON CITY -- Michael Van Pulliam, 2-year-old son of Steven Pulliam and Amanda (Patrick) Howell, passed away at 10:24 p.m. Sunday, April 22, 2012, in St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today, April 26, in Murman and Wilson Funeral Home in Johnston City with Pastor Larry Stevens officiating. 

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. today at the funeral home. Burial will be in Lakeview Cemetery in Johnston City.

Michael was born July 27, 2009, in Carbondale.

He is survived by his father of Johnston City; his mother of Elkville; two brothers, Matthew and Jaden; grandparents, Ronald and Marlene Pulliam, Carol Hastings and Patricia Patrick; stepgrandparents, Betty and Donald Clerk; several aunts, uncles, other family members and friends.

Published in The Southern Illinoisan from April 25 to April 26, 2012 .

Today is June 23, 2014 and I am unable to find any information about trials or a conviction in this case though it was supposed to go to trial in 1013.

UPDATE: June 29, 2016 - Thank you Lisa for this update.

In August of 2015, Jarrod W. Rudder, who was 27 years old at the time, was sentenced to 80 years in prison after having been found guilty of first degree murder. In a twist like none I have seen before, but I LOVE, Jarrod will have to serve the FULL 80 years of his sentence before he can get out. By the time he has served his entire sentence, he will be 107 years old and then, if he's still alive, he'll have to register with the Illinois Murderer And Violent Offenders Against Youth registry.

I would think that Jarrod is never going to make it out of prison alive and that is exactly how it should be.

This page was created on June 23, 2014
Injuries occurred in the state of Illinois
Death occurred in the state of Missouri

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