Aunt, grandmother could face stiff charges in starvation case - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Aunt, grandmother could face stiff charges in starvation case

Associated Press - November 20, 2008 9:24 AM ET

FOREST, Miss. (AP) - Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee says the grandmother and aunt being held in the starvation death of a 4-year-old child could face stiffer charges as investigators dig deeper into the case.

Lee said no more arrests were anticipated in the Nov. 9 death of Austin Watkins. He said earlier that an autopsy showed the boy weighed only 19 pounds at the time of his death.

Investigators have interviewed family members who made statements earlier this month to media outlets that indicated they may have known the boy was being abused. Lee said, however, the statements had been exaggerated.

Janice Mowdy, the child's paternal grandmother, and his aunt, Stephanie Bell, are charged with murder and felony child abuse. Officials said the two do not yet have attorneys.

Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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