Mother made daughter, 13, help bury 4-year-old sister in NC backyard, warrant says

·3 min read

The mother of a 4-year-old girl whose remains were found at a north Charlotte home last month, forced her 13-year-old daughter to help bury her sister in the backyard, according to a search warrant.

On May 21, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police found Miegellic “Jelli” Young’s body buried outside her mother’s home in the 3700 block of Braden Drive. Miegellic had lived with her mother, Malikah Bennett, her boyfriend and seven other children in the home since August, the search warrant says.

The 13-year-old girl told police she was Miegellic’s sister and Bennett’s daughter, the warrant says. The girl, who police did not name, said Bennett forced Miegellic to stand in the laundry room as punishment for “having a bowel movement in her pants,” the warrant says. Miegellic stood in the room for three days without sitting down or leaving, according to the document. The girl told police Miegellic’s breathing “was on and off” by the third day, the warrant says. Once she got too weak, Miegellic fell out the back door and hit her head on the ground, the girl told police.

After Miegellic passed out, according to the warrant, the girl said Bennett tried doing CPR without success. That’s when Miegellic died, the girl said.

Bennett “washed up” Miegellic and placed her body in two black plastic trash bags, the 13-year-old told police, according to the warrant. Bennett then put Miegellic’s body in the trunk of a “blue” four-door SUV where she remained for five days “until the smell became so bad,” the warrant says. Bennett drove the SUV to go buy a shovel, then returned home, the warrant says. After digging the hole, Bennett made the 13-year-old pick up her sister’s body, place it in the ground and cover it with dirt, the search warrant says.

Police found a teal Saturn Vue SUV at the home on May 21, the warrant says. Officers also seized a shovel, swabs, a car and a cellphone.

Miegellic’s body had serious physical injuries, including bruises, swelling and black eyes, according to an arrest warrant for Bennett.

A mother charged with murder

Police responded to Bennett’s home early on May 21 after welfare-check request from Pat Williams, a child protective service worker, according to the warrant.

When police approached Bennett about her missing daughter that day, she told them that she had dropped Miegellic off with a family member in August but hadn’t reported her missing or seen her since, the warrant says. The CPS worker, according to the warrant, told police that family members said they had no knowledge of Bennett’s statements nor of Miegellic’s whereabouts.

According to the warrant, a 29-year-old man named Romany Harris told detectives Bennett confided in him that Miegellic was dead. Bennett didn’t report her daughter’s death because the child had injuries and she was afraid of getting in trouble, Harris told police, according to the warrant. Harris also said Miegellic became unresponsive in August, the warrant says. Family members tried administering CPR, but no one reported the incident to police, the warrant says.

Bennett, 31, is charged with felony child abuse, inflicting physical injury, felony concealing a death and first-degree murder, according to her arrest warrant. She was denied bond at a court hearing in May. She’s also facing three pending misdemeanor child abuse charges from February 2020, according to an Observer search of public records.

Investigators found multiple domestic violence and abuse reports involving Bennett, her family and her children in one of their databases. Some of the incidents were reported at the Braden Drive address, the search warrant says.

The Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services did not immediately return a request for comment from the Observer on Thursday.

Police also arrested and charged Bennett’s mother, Tammy Taylor Moffett, in connection with her granddaughter’s death. Moffett, 53, is charged with concealing a death and accessory to murder after the fact, her arrest warrant says.

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