Mom Charged in Quadriplegic’s Death
Posted by shadmia on October 14, 2009
Lorrie Mae Thomas, 40, will stand trial on 6 counts including murder, child abuse and welfare fraud in the death of her 9-year-old quadriplegic, adopted daughter, Shylae Myza Thomas. So said Judge Tracy Collier-Nix of 68th District Court in Flint, Mi. at a hearing on Oct., 13, 2009.
Investigators believe Shylae had been dead for six weeks before police found her body, wrapped in a garbage bag and stuffed in a 33-gallon container filled with mothballs, her feet hanging over the side, in a storage unit at 9125 N. Saginaw Rd. in Vienna Township on April 22, 2009.
At the time of her death 9-year-old Shylae weighed only 33 lbs. The doctor who performed the autopsy said the cause of death was a combination of neglect, malnourishment and dehydration. Shylae suffered from quadriplegia because of a “suffocation issue” in her crib at 3 weeks of age.
“You don’t even really need an autopsy or an expert to tell you that this 9-year-girl at 33 pounds was starved to death,” Assistant Prosecutor Marcie Mabry said after the hearing.
The state Department of Human Services began to suspect something might be wrong after a worker went to Thomas’ house at 1041 E. Pierson Rd. near I-475 to check out a tip that Shylae and another child there were being neglected. Thomas had 7 other children.
The DHS worker asked about Shylae and was told that she was on the way to Virginia where Thomas was planning to relocate to. The worker became suspicious when Thomas was unable to provide a contact number to the person who had Shylae. Eventually the police were called in.
A police investigation turned up information that Shylae had been dead for weeks and her body was being kept in a storage unit at the Stor & Lock storage facility. They found Shylae’s body there about 4 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22. Thomas was arrested and her other children were placed in DHS custody.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton described the child’s living conditions as filthy, ‘For her to have to live like that, and then to die and be stuffed into a bag and plastic bin in a storage facility, just breaks my heart,’ he said.
Judge Tracy Collier-Nix’s ruling came at the end of a three-day preliminary hearing that began June 3 and continued Oct. 1.
At the hearing prosecutors played a recording of a phone conversation with Thomas from jail just days after her arrest in which she uses an expletive to describe police and said she had planned to retrieve Shylae’s body from the storage unit and bury it.
“I did not murder her,” Thomas said in the April 25 call.
After the hearing, defense lawyer Mark Clement said Thomas found Shylae dead at home and panicked — fearing that her own children would be taken from her if she reported the death. He said Thomas denies that she starved the girl and says she was feeding her.
Lorrie Mae Thomas is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 in circuit court.