Independence mom implicated in her six-month-old girl’s death

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A 31-year-old Independence woman in behind bars Friday and charged in the death of her six-month-old daughter.

DeShelle Atkison is charged in Jackson County with abuse or neglect of a child - resulting in death and endangering the welfare of a child.

According to prosecutors the baby girl, Betsy Atkison, died on January 31st. Independence police were called to the home on the report of a non-breathing infant. According to court documents, police arriving on scene found the infant dead in conditions they deemed unfit for living.

In a probable cause statement a detective details the conditions of the baby’s room as "filthy, with bags of trash leaking on the floor" and "evidence of rats in the child's room and in the kitchen."

Police also describe the infant as thin, her rib bones showing through her skin and laying on stained sheets. According to court documents the girl's mother, DeShelle, admitted to police Betsy had been sick, wheezing and coughing frequently.

The girl's mother also admitted in the last four days before Betsy died, she had only fed the girl six ounces of formula and three-to-four bites of baby food a day.

A neighbor of Atkison told FOX 4: “That’s just the fact. You should have gotten your kid help, you didn’t so you’re going to be charged with the murder case because you didn’t go get your kid help?"

The Jackson County Medical Examiner declared the girl's death a homicide on March 31st. Friday afternoon the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office filed charges and Independence police arrested Atkison at her home.

According to court documents, police removed the other four of Atkison’s children from the home the day the girl died because of its unsanitary conditions. Atkison remains in jail on a $100,000 bond and is not to have contact with children under the age of 17.

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