The father of the eight-year-old girl who died of cardiac arrest last year was arrested along with his girlfriend and her sister this week by authorities for abusing the girl to death.
The father of the girl, Merty Browning, his girlfriend Julie Dawn Titchenell and her sister Sherie Titchenell were jailed on charges of child neglect causing death and death of a child by a parent or guardian. A bond of $100,000 each was also filed on Monday in Fayette County, according to ABC News.
The three were charged following a year-old investigation on the death of Raylee JoLynn Browning who died of a cardiac arrest on December 26, 2018. The police were alerted after her body was found covered with bruises, lacerations, burns and other injuries.
Unmatched testimonies and foul play
Sherie Titchenell, the one who brought Raylee to the hospital last year said she got sick and had gotten a nose bleed after taking prescription medications, according to report by Oak Hill police Sgt. James Pack. She also said Raylee fell while getting out of the shower and then went into a shock that made her lips turned white.
While the adults had reasoned behind the injuries saying that Raylee had a history of inflicting harm upon herself since she was two-years-old. Supporting the argument of Raylee's self-mutilation tendencies, Julie Titchenell said the girl had even broken her femur once after kicking a wall. A doctor's report suggested that that Raylee's growth had stunted after her 6th birthday. However, authorities suspected foul play after testimonies about Raylee's death by all three adult members differed from each other.
One of Julie Titchenell's three children, who are now in foster care, came forward with details involving the torture that was inflicted upon Raylee. She said that while Sherie was their main caretaker, she often gave Raylee cruel punishments such as ordering her not eat food at school knowing that she had asked cafeteria workers to give her extra food.
Drinking from toilets and other abuse
The girl told authorities, including her therapist, the adults used to beat Raylee with metal objects, belts and spoons and tortured her by barring her from drinking water up to three days. Once she even caught Raylee drinking from the toilet.
Doctor's who had examined Raylee's case had said that infection leading to sepsis was likely the cause of her death. It was also stated that the girl was subjected to medical abuse as well as it was found that she was on seven medications at the time of her death. It was found that the medicines were for treating severe autism and mood disorders.
A medical examiner's report said infection leading to sepsis likely killed her. A doctor said Raylee may also have been subjected to medical abuse. She was on seven medications at the time of her death, many of them used to treat severe autism and mood disorders, police said.
Julie's daughter has further said that she was often told to lie to social workers by the adults and often did so because she was scared. She said she and Raylee had to be taken out of school to avoid suspicion on Sherie's abuse.
Investigations led to hospital accounts related to Raylee's various injuries from 2011 to 2018. Raylee's school teachers in Nicholas County had made several referrals to the Nicholas Child Protective Services. To avoid suspicion, the family moved to Fayette County, Oak Hill and then to Hilltop, according to police reports. It is unclear whether a formal case was opened on the reported abuse before Raylee left Nicholas County.
Furthermore, the girl told authorities that the adults made her lie to social workers and that she often did so because she was scared. She said she and Raylee were taken out of school and homeschooled when Sherie Titchenell could think of no more lies for them to tell, police said.