Police arrested a licensed counselor and her husband, a registered nurse, last week after their 6-year-old malnourished son died.
Authorities Investigate Suspicious Circumstances
Last week, the Auburn Police Department, along with the Auburn Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service personnel, responded to a distressing situation on Core Drive’s 2200 block.
The police discovered an unresponsive malnourished 6-year-old child, identified as Sullivan Watford by WRBL-TV, who was not breathing.
Medical professionals provided life-saving measures on Sullivan however he was pronounced dead by attending physicians at East Alabama Health.
The authorities’ investigation into Sullivan’s tragic death uncovered suspicious circumstances, leading them to consider a possible drowning incident.
Child Found Severely Malnourished and Unable to Thrive
The investigation revealed disturbing details about Sullivan’s condition. Police disclosed that at the time of his death, the 6-year-old victim weighed a mere 21 pounds and displayed signs of severe malnourishment.
Because he was undernourished, Sullivan was unable to walk or sit up unassisted, indicating prolonged and intentional neglect.
In an attempt to explain her son’s condition, Kelly Watford, the victim’s mother, allegedly informed officials that she had administered vapor rub to him to alleviate a cough.
However, the autopsy results told a different story. Fluid found in Sullivan’s nasal cavity and lungs led investigators to conclude that the child had, in fact, drowned.
Arrests Made for Felony Murder and Aggravated Child Abuse
Mark and Kelly Watford, the parents of the deceased child, were taken into custody by law enforcement – Kelly Watford now faces a charge of felony murder, while Mark Watford has been charged with aggravated child abuse.
Mark Watford’s bond has been set at $30,000, while Kelly Watford remains in custody without bond.
During a recent hearing on June 21, Judge Russell Bush was presented with photographs of Sullivan taken by Auburn police. The judge expressed profound shock, comparing the images to scenes from Holocaust documentaries, highlighting the severe nature of the child’s neglect and mistreatment.
According to WRBL, the Watfords allegedly homeschool their seven children, and Sullivan had never received medical care from a pediatrician. These revelations raise serious concerns about the child’s overall well-being and the adequacy of the parent’s care.
The tragic death of young Sullivan sent shockwaves through the community.
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