A Tennessee mother has been charged in the death of her 22-year-old daughter after it was discovered that the young woman, who has Cerebral Palsy, was severely malnourished and weighed only 40 pounds.
40-year-old Jennifer Cotten faces aggravated assault charges, abuse and neglect charges, and bail violation charges all stemming from her daughter Rebecca’s death. Police were initially introduced to Cotten back in August when she left the young woman, then weighing 55 pounds, in a hot car by herself with the windows closed. Rebecca also had traces of methamphetamine in her system. A judge ordered Cotten to stay away from her daughter, but unfortunately, she did not listen, and Rebecca continued to be cared for by her mother.
Early last month, Rebecca and her mother were alone in their house, which had no electricity, when it suddenly caught fire. Rebecca suffered burns on her body, and weeks later, she was dead. Police believe that the severe abuse had something to do with the 22-year-old’s death, but Jennifer Cotten’s longtime boyfriend William King has come out in defense of the mother.
“Jennifer's the only one who ever cared for that child or done anything,” said King. “She's the only one who would. Nobody wants to change the diaper of a 22-year-old kid. Feed her. Nobody wants that!”
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After a judge told Cotten that she could no longer have custody of Rebecca, she tried to put Rebecca under the care of her brother John. That did not work out, however, and as King points out, they had no choice but to bring her home.
“They tried to give the kid to everybody- nobody wanted her! Nobody!” claimed King. “The police wouldn't even do anything about it. They said ‘Nobody wants her, what can we do?’ Now y'all are going to lock people up for trying to take care of a child. Single mother raised three kids on her own and worked with disabled children all her life- why was she on her own? This was a terrible accident to happen.”
Cotten is currently facing serious charges in connection with her daughter’s death while police continue to investigate the sad circumstances surrounding it.