Cop: Starved 16-year-old weighed 43 pounds

Ebony Espree Berry, 35, has been in jail since her arrest on June 15, hours after 16-year-old Markea Berry was found dead in the family's Mableton home. Markea, who was described as mentally challenged, had at one time previously wandered away from her home, according to police.

But investigators believe Markea suffered from extreme malnourishment and that her mother declined to get her help, according to her mother's arrest warrant. After Markea's death, other children were placed in protective custody.

"The thing that stood out to all persons involved is that the 16-year-old weight 43 pounds," Detective Chris Twiggs told Channel 2 Action News. "I could see most of the bones in her body. There was hardly any muscle mass left; just a skeleton with skin is the way I could best describe it."

Berry's attorney argued that the murder charge is too strict because the woman could not control her daughter's actions, Channel 2 reported from inside the courtroom. Berry told investigators she didn't want to be ridiculed for how the teenager looked and was afraid if she took her to a doctor, she'd be charged, Twiggs said.

Berry was being held Thursday night in the Cobb County jail without bond.

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