Couple charged in boy’s death

Debralynn C. Holland

Earl Dwayne Adkins

Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK – A year ago, a young boy was mauled to death in Lincoln Park by a wolf-hybrid dog. Last week, the boy’s mother and her boyfriend were arraigned on charges connected to the death of 5-year-old Kyle Joseph Holland.

Debralynn C. Holland, 29, and Earl Dwayne Adkins, 35, were arraigned Wednesday in Lincoln Park’s 25th District Court before Judge David Zelenak. Holland faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, a 15-year felony, and second-degree child abuse, a four-year-felony, for leaving a young boy vulnerable to a dangerous animal.

Adkins was charged with owning a dangerous animal causing death, a 15-year felony that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said was treated the same as manslaughter, with gross negligence causing criminal liability. Prosecutors maintain that Adkins and Holland knew the animal was dangerous but did not ensure the safety of the child.

The dog, bought for protection, was not properly secured or caged while Kyle slept. Prosecutors said that the morning of July 12, 2010, the dog attacked and mauled the boy.

“If you want your children to be introduced to wild animals, take them on safari or to the zoo,” Worthy said. “Common sense dictates that you don’t bring them into or around your home.”

Additional charges include those related to an alleged 15 marijuana plants in the basement. Adkins was charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver or Manufacture Marijuana, a four-year felony; Holland was charged as an accessory after the fact, a five-year felony, for allegedly trying to get rid of the marijuana plants and providing false information to the police.

The attack took place 10 days after Holland and her son moved to Adkins’ home in the 1500 block of Empire Street.

A cousin of Kyle’s, 37-year-old Tiffany Dailey of Maryville, Tenn., launched a page on the web site It’s a story of tragedy, a little boy with braces on his legs whose father died when Kyle was four months old. Kyle reportedly spent several months each year with his Tennessee grandmother and family.

The incident was first ruled a homicide in July 2010 by the Wayne County Medical Examiners Office, which reported that there were two dogs in the home at the time, a Labrador retriever and the 90-pound German shepherd-husky mix that attacked the boy. Michigan State Police later confirmed the dog’s lineage as a hybrid, which is illegal to own in Michigan.

Maria Miller, Wayne County Prosecutor spokesperson, said that a lengthy investigation was held prior to making official last week’s charges. Inquiries and analysis were done by agencies including the Michigan State Police, Michigan State University Diagnostic Center and Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Prior to the incident, Adkins was ticketed in May 2010 for having a dog that large without a license. In November 2009 Lincoln Park police were called to a Marion Street home occupied by Adkins’ mother; the two dogs were confirmed as the ones in the Empire Street home at the time of the incident.

At the arraignment, Adkins was issued a $50,000 or ten percent bond; Holland was given a $50,000 personal bond. A preliminary examination of the evidence is set for 10 a.m. Thursday.

(James Mitchell can be reached at