Grandmother, aunt charged in starvation death of 4-year-old

Austin James Watkins
Austin James Watkins

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A grandmother and an aunt are charged with murder and felony child abuse after a 4-year-old starved to death Scott County.

Sheriff Mike Lee says an autopsy shows Austin James Watkins weighed 19 pounds when he died Sunday. The boy was buried Thursday.

The boy's paternal grandmother, 43-year-old Janice Mowdy, and aunt, 22-year-old Stephanie Bell, are in the Scott County Jail without bond.

The sheriff says the boy's sister and two brothers - ages 9, 6 and 2 - were in the home in Lena when authorities received the call about Austin being unresponsive.

Lee says the Department of Human Services took the children away from their mother months ago. He says their father is in jail for a parole violation after having served time for statutory rape.

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