1 Year Old Zachary Cole Johnson Murdered By His Uncle

Zachary Cole Johnson

Zachary Cole Johnson

Matthew R. Wyrosdick was having a bad morning …. A bad morning that led to him beating his 1 year old nephew, Zachary Cole Johnson, to death.

After he was arrested on chargers for Zachary’s murder, and it was confirmed by medical doctor and examiners that the cause of the baby’s death was Shaken Baby Syndrome, he demonstrated the beating to police using a stuffed animal.

Wyrosdick claimed he was getting Zachary and his brother Austin some breakfast, when Zachary got up from the children’s picnic table, well Wyrosdick got pretty angry.  He picked the baby boy up and shook him violently so his head snapped back and forth, then placed Zachary back in his seat at the picnic table.  He went back to the kitchen to continue making breakfast, when he heard a noise.  He looked back and saw Zachary falling from the bench, and striking his head on a coffee table.  He went to pick up the boy and when he saw a blank look on Zachary’s face, he shook him violently again ‘to rouse him’.  Wyrosdick tried to get Zachary to walk by grabbing his arm and jerking him up, causing the baby’s head to strike a staircases railing twice.  He proceeded to drop the boy three times from various heights, then decided to call 911.

Zachary Cole Johnson was airlifted to the hospital emergency room where he later died from his injuries.  This beautiful little boy died an agonizing death at the hands of a monster.

Fred Stewart, a firefighter and paramedic who tried to save Zachary, said the child’s death made an impression on him.  “I sat on the front of a fire truck and cried,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years, and I’ve never done that before.”

Matthew Wyrosdick

Matthew Wyrosdick

Matthew Wyrosdick was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of Zachary Cole Johnson after he pleaded no contest to aggravated manslaughter of a child.  In addition to his prison sentence, Circuit Judge Angela Cowden also ordered Wyrosdick to serve five years’ probation.

  Zachary’s mother, Clarissa Johnson, tried to speak at the sentencing hearing, but was so overcome with emotion that words would not come out.  Tears streamed down her face as she clutched onto Assistant State Attorney Sharon Franklin for support.  Zachary’s father, Gene Johnson, looked directly at Wyrosdick and told him 15 years in prison wasn’t nearly enough.

“You should have got life,” he said.

Controversy surrounds how Zachary and the Johnsons’ surviving son, Austin, ended up in Wyrosdick’s care.  The boys had been taken from Clarissa and Gene Johnson after they were jailed on July 26, 2008, on charges of stealing a car and money from an elderly relative.  The state Department of Children and Families outlined errors in the case, including that DCF took too long to reunite the boys with the Johnsons, according to DCF documents released earlier this year.  DCF also concluded there were errors by staff members at Educare Early Learning Center in South Lakeland who photographed numerous marks and bruises on Zachary while the boy was in temporary custody but never alerted authorities.  Educare Early Learning Center had to pay a $3,100 fine and was put on probation for not alerting authorities to signs of abuse on Zachary.  The negligence shown by DCF cost this baby boy his life.  I have to question how a $3,100.00 fine is equal to the loss of Zachary’s life.  DCF is supposed to protect children from harm, not expose them to it.  As a logical and rational person, I do believe that 90% of the time, DCF do everything they can and should do with the resources available to them.  However, that other 10% of the time should carry severe consequences and termination of all who failed to save an innocent child’s life due to negligence.

Personally, I think that this coward should be shaken violently and dropped from various heights until he dies.  Did anyone ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, if we treated these monsters how they treated their victims, some people might think twice before ‘losing their temper’.  As far as I am concerned, any crime a person is charged with against a child, should be their punishment.

I would like to hear what you think about this.  Please take the quick poll below, and let’s see what sentences society feels a child killer should get.


Zachary Johnson - Heaven to Home



~ by LTWH on January 12, 2012.


  1. I completely agree. I think if some of the monsters were made to endure the same they doled out on innocent children it would make others think twice. ESP if it was made public knowledge.

  2. Hello, my name is Earl Eugene Johnson 2. I am the father of Zachary Cole Johnson, and i truly appreciate this site. thank you everyone who contributed to this. We all miss you Zachary. God bless.

  3. Mr. Johnson – I am truly sorry for the loss of your son. He was a beautiful little boy and I imagine he brought a lot of love to you and your family. If there is anything we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to let us know. You are all a part of the Lighting Their Way Home family now, and we take care of our own.

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