WARNER ROBINS — A Warner Robins couple is accused of the starvation death of their 2-year-old son, a case that a veteran Houston County sheriff’s investigator described as the worst he’s seen in his career.
Sade Shamon King, 23, and William Thomas Davis III, 25, are charged with felony murder and cruelty to children in the death of D’Shawn Davis, Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton said at a news conference Tuesday.
“It really turned my stomach the way the child had been treated,” Talton said. He said he called the news conference to highlight the seriousness of the case.
Talton showed photographs of the emaciated body of the boy at the news conference, on the condition news representatives would not duplicate or publish the photos. The boy weighed 12 pounds and 6 ounces at his death. His rectum showed signs of having been left in his own urine and feces, said Houston County sheriff’s Sgt. Darin Meadows, a sheriff’s investigator assigned to juvenile crimes.
Houston County sheriff’s Capt. Jerry Stewart, head of the juvenile division, said the child neglect case was “one of the most, if not the most, egregious” in his 37-year career.
“It’s the kind of case that follows you home at night — that keeps you awake,” Stewart said.
He described the body as “not much more than a skeleton.”
The autopsy ruled the cause of death as malnutrition, said Houston County Coroner Danny Galpin.
King called 911 on Saturday and reported that the child was not breathing, investigators said at the news conference. King and Davis, who are not married, are the biological parents of the boy.
Arriving Houston Healthcare emergency medical workers found the body of the boy on the floor of the mother’s bedroom at 104 Tiffany Place in Warner Robins, investigators said.
Why the parents allegedly neglected the child is not yet known, though Davis told authorities that he was away during the day, often worked 12-hour shifts and had not noticed the child’s deteriorated condition, investigators said.
The mother had isolated the boy, with relatives indicating it had been weeks since they’d seen him, Stewart said. The boy had received no medical care for 10 months prior to his death, investigators said.
A sibling, a 5-year-old girl who had lived in the home for about six weeks, is now staying with a grandmother, investigators said.
Stewart declined to elaborate on why the girl previously had not been living at the home. Houston County District Attorney Rabb Wilkerson declined to comment about whether there had been any investigations or incidents involving the couple by the state Division of Family and Children Services.
Nearly three years ago, the Houston County Sheriff’s Office investigated the death of 2-month-old K’ron Jarrell Davis, the son of the same couple.
The infant died Oct. 25, 2007. The autopsy, which was conducted by GBI Regional Medical Examiner Dr. Melissa Sims, found that the boy died from “sudden unexplained infant death associated with bed sharing,” Galpin said. The infant was sleeping with the mother, he said. Sims listed the manner of death as “undetermined,” Galpin said.
Sheriff’s investigators found that the infant’s death was the result of “accidental asphyxiation from sleeping with the child,” Stewart said. Unless some new information comes to light, investigators still believe the death was accidental, Stewart said.
Wilkerson said the couple could face life in prison on the felony murder charge.
He said it was too early to make the call on whether the death penalty would be sought.
King and Davis showed no emotion when arrested Monday night, Meadows said. King and Davis were being held without bond Tuesday at the Houston County jail in Perry.
Anyone who knows anything about the couple or the alleged neglect is asked to contact sheriff’s investigators at (478) 542-2090. The case remains under investigation by Meadows and Houston County sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Blackmon.