Siblings Defend Mom Charged With Starving Daughter
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 20, 2006
FLINT, MICHIGAN--A 22-year-old woman who weighs just 43 pounds was doing well in a local hospital one week after police discovered her and arrested her mother for starving and abusing her.
According to the Flint Journal, officers were following up on an unrelated assault complaint at the home of Theresa Terrell on December 13, when they were overwhelmed by a strong odor coming from a second-floor bedroom. Inside, they found Michelle Terrell, who has cerebral palsy and a mental disability, lying on a mattress stained with urine and feces and wearing just a T-shirt and four soiled diapers.
"At first, the officers thought she was an 11-year-old girl," said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.
Theresa Terrell was charged on Monday with second-degree vulnerable adult abuse. A preliminary hearing has been set for January 3.
By Wednesday of this week, state officials were looking to place Michelle in a foster home.
Two of Michelle's siblings have defended their mother, denying that their sister was malnourished or neglected. Her sister, Diana Terrell, told WJRT-TV that some family members are simply skinny. Brother Dwanques Myell also explained that the layered diapers were needed to keep Michelle from "getting to her feces and play in it, or whatever."
"She never neglected my little sister," Myell said of their mother. "She never neglected her. She gave her more love than she probably gave all of us."
"New home is sought for woman" (Flint Journal)
"Family says sister wasn't abused" (WJRT)
"Authorities: There's no doubt daughter was abused" (WJRT)