A Coweta County toddler had been burned with hair tools and cigarettes, was likely beaten and was dehydrated, according to investigators. When the 2-year-old’s parents called 911, she was unresponsive.
On Thursday, little Aleigha Lee’s parents remained in jail, both charged in her death, the Coweta Sheriff’s Office said.
Elizabeth Lynn Lee, 29, has been charged with felony murder and aggravated battery, and her husband, Daniel Lenwood Lee, 28, has been charged with child cruelty in the second degree. Investigators believe Elizabeth Lee injured the child and both parents failed to get Aleigha medical help.
The couple lived with their six children in a family member’s home in Senoia. The other five children have been removed from the home and placed in protective custody, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The alleged abuse against Aleigha may have started as early as Oct. 24, according to arrest warrants obtained by Channel 2 Action News. But it wasn’t until early Sunday morning that Daniel Lee called 911 to report the child was unresponsive. Elizabeth Lee told investigators Aleigha injured herself but the family had no medical insurance.
Late Sunday, the Lees were arrested. Elizabeth Lee’s charges were later upgraded to include murder.
The GBI conducted an autopsy on Aleigha, according to Coweta Coroner Richard Hawk. But the cause of death is still under investigation. Toxicology tests are also pending, Hawk said.
According to the arrest warrants, the child had extensive injuries, including swelling in her brain and blunt force trauma to the stomach. The burns on Aleigha’s body appeared to be from cigarettes and a flat iron, warrants state.
The Lees had previously lost custody of their six children in 2016 because of their methamphetamine addiction, according to The Newnan Times-Herald. After completing an 18-month accountability program in June, the couple were reunited with the children.
“I felt like my kids were gone and I didn’t feel like they were coming home, and we were just done,” Elizabeth Lee told the paper. “We were living in a van that didn’t work in the middle of winter. I didn’t have a license, we didn’t have our kids, we didn’t have our jobs, we didn’t have anything.”
Elizabeth and Daniel Lee were both denied bond at their first court appearance.
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