A North Carolina woman was arrested on Tuesday after police say she starved her mentally disabled daughter to death in February.
WRAL reports that Bertha Brewington Melvin, 68, of Fayetteville, is accused of first-degree murder and two counts of exploitation, neglect, and abuse after her adopted daughter, Tial Melvin, 22, passed away from hypothermia and starvation. Melvin is also the adoptive mother of Tia’s sister, Edna Melvin, 28, who was also reportedly abused. Edna also has cognitive impairment.
According to court documents, authorities arrived at Melvin’s home off of Flintshire Road on February 3 after a call about an unresponsive female. They found Tia in the home, deceased. An autopsy later revealed that she weighed 55 pounds at the time of her death.
Police found Edna hiding under a blanket in the home, in the same room with her deceased sister. Edna was rushed to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center after paramedics discovered she had a low heart rate and was “cold to the touch.” She was later released from the hospital and expected to make a full recovery. She’s now being cared for by the Department of Social Services.
The suspect’s grandson, Javarus Melvin, was shocked by her arrest and claimed that his grandmother alway took care of the twins since they were infants. He indicated that the the situation was “something deeper than what people are painting this picture to be.”
Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West, however, said that evidence showed something entirely different than what Javarus Melvin claimed.
“The pictures were particular egregious – as bad as I’ve ever seen as far as emaciation and starvation. The allegations, both for the surviving victim in this case and the deceased victim, are that they had mental challenges, and those are just members of our society that we just have to protect.”
Melvin remains behind bars without bail. The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Bertha Brewington Melvin/Police Handout]