USA

Georgia girl who weighed 7 pounds when she died had rare disorder: attorney

A 5-year-old Georgia girl allegedly starved to death by her parents had a rare chromosome disorder that stopped her from gaining weight, the couple’s attorney said.

Jerrail Maurice Mickens, 31, and Porscha Danielle Mickens, 29, were charged Tuesday in Hall County with felony murder and first-degree cruelty to children in the June death of Kylie Layla Mickens, who weighed just 7 pounds before dying at a hospital in Atlanta.

The couple is accused of failing to provide adequate nutrition and medical care to the girl, leading her to starve to death, according to arrest warrants obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But their attorney said Wednesday that Kylie had a disorder called 1p36 deletion syndrome that made it difficult for her to eat and drink, as well as to swallow.

“She had a hard time keeping weight on from birth,” attorney Corinne Mull told the newspaper. “This is a medical issue, not a starvation issue. Their other two children are perfectly healthy.”

Most people with 1p36 deletion syndrome “do not speak” or utter just a few words, and may have behavioral problems, according to the National Institutes of Health. Those affected also typically have weak muscle tone and have trouble swallowing, as well as gastrointestinal issues, but generally survive into adulthood.

The Mickens’, of Buford, intend to plead not guilty to the charges they face, Mull said, adding that she filed a motion for a bond hearing in the case.

The couple, who were charged after a four-month investigation, made their initial court appearance Wednesday, WMAZ reported.

Jerrail Maurice Mickens and Porscha Danielle Mickens
Jerrail Maurice Mickens and Porscha Danielle MickensHall County Sheriff’s Office

They remained held without bond at the Hall County Jail Thursday, online records show.

An autopsy found Kylie died from dehydration and malnutrition due to medical neglect. Her manner of death was ruled to be a homicide.

The girl’s grandmother, meanwhile, thanked friends and family on Facebook for their “continued prayers and support” days after Kylie died in June.

“When Kylie was born she was diagnosed with a rare condition and only expected to live 2 years,” the post read. “However we experienced a true miracle and were able to enjoy 5 years with her. Kylie was my little diva and always found a way to tell me what she liked and didn’t like … Kylie’s fight is over and she is now at rest, our fight is going on.”

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