Cumberland County News

Disabled Fayetteville woman died weighing 50 lbs, autopsy says

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) - A disabled 22-year-old Fayetteville woman weighed 50 pounds when she died of hypothermia and undernourishment inside her home in February, an autopsy report shows. 

Tial Melvin was dead when police found her and her sister, 28-year-ld Edna, in their Flintshire Drive home on Feb. 3. The report a 911 call was made after Tial was found unresponsive. 

EMS performed attempted to resuscitate Tial but were unsuccessful. Edma Melvin was transported to the hospital and is now the in the care of social services. 

Bertha Melvin is charged with first-degree murder in Tial's death. 

An autopsy report shows Tial Melvin was born prematurely at at 1.5 pounds and had a history of cerebral palsy.

She was adopted at 15 months by Bertha Melvin. Tial Melvin didn't walk until she was 5 and was on a feeding tube until the age of 6.

Tial Melvin stood 5 feet 1 inches tall at the time her death, weighed 50 pounds and had "minimal body fat."

The Melvin's Flintshire Drive home had no central heat and the home's thermostat showed it was 55 degrees in the house at the time of Tial's death, the report says. 

The outside temperature ranged from 21 to 44 degrees on Feb. 3. 

The autopsy says Tial Melvin's hair and body were clean and fingernails "neatly trimmed" and "clean."

"The decedent reportedly received no medical or dental care. Detectives reported that it was unknown the last time she left the home," the autopsy report says.

Bertha Melvin told investigators she had been feeding her daughters three times a day, the autopsy says. But the report says Tial Melvin's stomach had only a " trace amount of brown, mucoid fluid" in it. 

Edna Melvin, who is mentally disabled, weighed 54 lbs when she was found, the report says. 

Tial Melvin's undernourishment left her more susceptible to cold temperatures, the autopsy says. The cause of her death is listed a "hypothermia in the setting of starvation."

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