Flint, Michigan - Following my post on Thursday about the discovery of the body of 9-year-old Shylea Thomas in a public storage facility, ABC News reports that her aunt and adoptive mother, 39-year-old Lorrie Thomas, was charged on Friday afternoon in connection with her death:
Thirty-nine-year-old Lorrie Thomas was arraigned Friday afternoon in 68th District Court in Flint on six charges, including second-degree murder, child abuse, tampering with evidence, welfare fraud over $500 and removing a body without permission.
Leyton says the charges stem from an examination of the evidence that police say shows that the child was extremely neglected. Her weight was down 61 pounds from 2007 and she had deep sores on her body."
We believe Lorrie Mae Thomas caused the death of this child," Leyton said. "Our forensics pathologist has ruled this a homicide. She found no physical abuse or trauma to the body but found severe ongoing chronic malnutrition and neglect."
As noted earlier, Shylea was quadraplegic as a result of nearly suffocating in her crib when she was 3 months old. She was reported missing on Wednesday, but according to prosectuors, relatives told workers with the state Human Services department that she had not been seen for six weeks. In this report by CNN, relatives describe Shylea as "a happy child who loved music and had an infectious smile." Lorrie Thomas is been held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court again on Tuesday.