Motive sought in Forrest boy’s starving death

Published 12:43 pm Sunday, November 16, 2008

FOREST (AP) — Investigators in Scott County say they are looking into whether money was a possible motive in the starvation death of a 4-year-old boy.

Authorities say the grandmother and aunt of 4-year-old Austin James Watkins are charged with murder and felony child abuse. Sheriff Mike Lee says an autopsy shows Watkins, who was buried Thursday, weighed only 19 pounds when he died Nov. 9.

Lee says the boy’s paternal grandmother, 43-year-old Janice Mowdy, and aunt, 22-year-old Stephanie Bell, were arrested Wednesday. They have appeared before a judge and were ordered to remain in the Scott County Jail without bond.

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Lee says the boy’s family members had an insurance policy on him. He says the policy was kept stapled to a wall in the boy’s room.