Autopsy shows Bartlett teen died of malnutrition

BARTLETT, Tenn. — Autopsy results show a Bartlett teenager who was forced to live in a garage with his younger sister died of malnutrition.

Police found the 14-year-old-boy dead on the living room floor in January of 2020.

In June, eight of his family members were indicted for murder stemming from child abuse and neglect.

ORIGINAL STORY: 8 indicted in starvation death of Bartlett teen, Shelby County official says

One of the eight later died, so now only seven face charges.

When Bartlett Police arrived at the home off Skylight Drive, they found the 14-year-old boy weighing 60 pounds and lying dead on the floor.

Officers said it was a community home arrangement with eight adults inside along with 10 children.

According to an autopsy report released on Wednesday, the mother, Terra Wells, told police the night before the teen died, he complained of stomach pain, vomited, and would not eat.

She told officers she let her son sleep on the couch in the living room because it was cold out and the teen was recently sick.

The next day, police found him dead.

According to the report, when officers entered the garage, they smelled urine. Investigators discovered a nook with a door that could be locked. There wasn’t much inside the garage except a microwave, bottle of beach, a locked pantry, and a portable toilet dripping with either bleach or urine.

In the report, the mother told officers the teen lived in the garage because of inappropriate behavior.

Officers said they also found out a 12-year-old girl living in the garage was the teen’s sister.

The girl was taken to the hospital with bruises and scars on her body and later diagnosed with moderate malnutrition.

The seven family members now charged also face felony counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect in connection to the 12-year-old girl’s injuries.

The woman who was initially charged but later died was the child’s grandmother.