Died: Around July 21, 2008
Age at death: 2
Cause of death: Abuse; neglect
Location: Great Falls, Montana, USA
James was born in prison to a mother doing time for assaulting a police officer. At two years old, he was diagnosed with autism, and his mother was receiving disability checks for him.
James's mother once again got in trouble with the police. They tried to pull her over for drunk driving, but instead she attempted to evade them until she crashed into a parked truck and got arrested. James's 11-year-old sister was in the backseat at the time, but James himself could not be found.
It wasn't until his mother had cashed more of James's disability checks that the truth finally came out: She had put James in the trunk of the car the night she was out driving drunk. Now, over a month later, James was still in the trunk. She claimed he had died accidentally.
When his small body was autopsied, and it became obvious that James had been badly abused during his short life. There were several fractures, including a skull fracture. It was impossible to tell whether he had been alive or dead at the time of the accident, but he hadn't died from the accident--he had died from abuse, neglect, or a combination of both.
James's sister explained to police that their mother had not revealed the little boy's whereabouts because she did not want to go back to prison.
James's murderer has been sentenced to 55 years and 9 months for negligent homicide and fraud.
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