Man found guilty 37 years after toddler's death

INDIANAPOLIS - A man was found guilty Tuesday of second degree murder almost four decades after the death of a toddler in his care.

Michael Ackerman, 57, was arrested in April 2013 for the Jan. 17, 1977 death of 18-month-old Billy Wood.

Investigators said Ackerman had been dating the boy's mother and was babysitting Wood and his sister while their mother was at work.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the original death certificate listed the child's cause of death as multiple injuries/undetermined.

The case was reviewed after the Cold Case Homicide Unit was contacted by the victim's then 3-year-old sister, Indy Jo Wood, who is now 39 years old. She wanted the case reopened, and even has recollections of the crime, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors asked forensic pathologist Dr. Dean Hawley to review the victim's autopsy records, and he came to a different conclusion than the original report.

"The cause of death was blunt-force injuries of the head, chest and abdomen, and, my opinion with reasonable medical certainty, is that William Wood was a victim of medically diagnosable child abuse," Hawley said in April 2013.

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