A 3-year-old Alabama girl was found dead in a pool of vomit on Monday morning. Authorities arrested the girl’s mother and her mother’s boyfriend and ruled her death a homicide.
Officials have charged 23-year-old Misty Lynn Wright and 39-year-old Johnathon Wayne Talley with aggravated child abuse with severe injuries but are expected to upgrade the charges to capital murder, AL.com reports.
Just before 7 a.m. on Monday, authorities responded to a call at the couple’s trailer home. The parents told police that they found Jettie Ray Adams lying unresponsive on a mattress outside their home. Paramedics transported Jettie to a children’s hospital, where she was pronounced dead as a result of several internal injuries, according to the autopsy.
"She was hit with such force her intestines were damaged,'' Chief Deputy Randy Christian said.
He added that Jettie likely died slowly, after feeling unwell and lying down on the porch mattress, where she spent the whole night without an adult checking on her.
"It's the saddest case I can recall,'' he said.
(Left: Misty Lynn Wright; Right: Johnathon Wayne Talley)
The girl’s death is one of the worst cases investigators have ever seen, they say, according to the Daily Mail.
“I really don't know how someone is capable of abusing a fragile and innocent child in any manner, but to continue to the point of injury and death is beyond anyone's comprehension,'' said Christian. “Those responsible have been identified and arrested and our job now is to ensure they will not see the light of day again and they will never harm another child.”
Wright and Talley have both had run-ins with the law in the past – Wright failed to appear in court after several traffic violations. Talley has a longer history: he has been arrested for public intoxication, resisting arrest, theft, trespassing, and possession of methamphetamine and cocaine. He also has several convictions for driving with children who were not properly secured.
Several other children at the couple's home were taken into custody by the Department of Human Resources. The couple was booked into Jefferson County Jail.
"When the person that is trusted with protecting a child turns out to be the abuser of them, it is as sickening and as bad as it gets,'' Christian said. "That is what we have in this case. A special kind of sick, a special kind of evil."