A North Carolina mother accused of murdering her 4-year-old girl allegedly abused the child in myriad and disturbing ways before she died, according to recently released court documents.
Malikah Bennett, 31, stands accused of child abuse and murder in the first degree over the 2020 death of Majelic “Jellie” Young.
The young girl was last seen alive in late August or early September 2020; she was reported missing in September; her remains were found buried outside of a home in Charlotte, N.C. in May 2021.
Bennett and the girl’s grandmother, Tammy Moffett, 53, were both arrested in quick succession after voluntary interviews with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Moffett was charged with concealing human remains and accessory to murder after the fact.
“I’ve worked homicide most of the last 10 years and I can tell you this case is deeply disturbing,” CMPD Lieutenant Bryan Crum said during a press conference earlier this year. “It’s disturbing to everyone who’s worked it. Crime scene investigators, detectives, everyone involved in this case – many of us are parents, and it’s very difficult to understand how someone could do this to their child, kill their child and bury them and move on with their life as if nothing happened.”
Some of those disturbing details have now come to light.
According to warrants reviewed by local ABC/Telemundo affiliate WSOC, the girl’s body was found following a phone call made to police by a social worker. Bennett was previously facing relatively minor child neglect charges related to two of her other children, according to local NBC affiliate WCNC.
Those recently released warrants reportedly contain the witness testimony of Majelic’s 13-year-old sister. The teenager allegedly told police that her younger sister was essentially abused to death by being forced to stand in the laundry room as punishment.
The 4-year-old was allowed no breaks to sit; she also couldn’t leave.
Majelic’s sister said that at the end of the first day, her baby sister had a bowel movement inside of her pants.
The standing torture abuse allegedly continued on for two more days.
In interviews with police, the teenager said that her sister’s breathing was labored, going on and off by the third day when Majelic finally got so weak that she fell out the back door and hit her head on the ground. That was the day she died.
Afterwards, the older girl, who is not being named, said that her mother put the dead child into two plastic bags where her corpse likely began to decompose inside of the trunk of her SUV for five days. Then, the mother allegedly forced the teenager to help her dig a hole and cover the girl’s body with dirt.
Police claim to have recovered a shovel at the residence where Majelic’s body was found some nine months later.
“To actually see the search warrant, it hurt me,” family friend Lucille Puckett told WSOC–she described the child’s death as “torture.”
“I don’t just see this only happening to Jelli,” Puckett continued. “We don’t know how many children are lost in the system or could’ve been facing the same situation.”
[image via Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department]
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