Mom charged with 'severely malnourished' teen's death at 33 lbs., 'bed sores throughout'

Mom charged with ‘severely malnourished’ teen’s death at 33 lbs., ‘bed sores throughout’

(As originally published with additional photos, Thu, February 15th 2024)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (TND) — A 14-year-old boy found “extremely malnourished, weighing only 33 lbs.,” with bed sores is dead and his mother is facing criminal charges.

Police were called to their home in Florida about “an unconscious person” on New Year’s evening.

Court documents said Talia Nelson was cooking dinner for Zakye Smith-Nelson and, “When T. Nelson went into Zakye’s room, she found him unresponsive, laying on the floor.

“T. Nelson stated that the last time she saw Zakye awake and alert was at approximately 6:00 p.m.

“T. Nelson stated that Zakye suffers from a rare bone disease, lactose intolerance, and bulimia.”

A man in the home, whose name and relationship were redacted from the report, said “Zakye had been having trouble walking and he would have to sometimes carry Zakye.”

The boy was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

According to authorities at the hospital, “T. Nelson stated that she is the sole caregiver for Zakye; however, he had not been seen by a doctor in a while.

“T. Nelson further stated that on today’s date, Zakye complained that his legs were hurting and T. Nelson believed that this was the result from Zakye jumping off a shelf in his closet a month prior.

Mom charged with 'severely malnourished' teen's death at 33 lbs., 'bed sores throughout'
Talia Monique Nelson was arrested (from left) for theft on March 4, 2023, and her son’s murder on Feb. 9, 2024. (Volusia Sheriff’s Office)

“T. Nelson also stated that Zakye attends school online and that he has a rare bone disease.

“T. Nelson could not provide any information on the physician who diagnosed Zakye with said rare bone disease,” but he was seen about three months earlier for autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Authorities described the family’s home, writing that one of the three bedrooms “did not have a bed or furniture, and it had a strong odor of old, stale urine emitting from the room.

“On the floor of the middle bedroom were soiled clothing and a small amount of children’s toys, and the carpet was stained. Miscellaneous clothing items appeared to be intentionally placed in the window sill as well as underneath the bedroom door.”

There were also “two laptop computers which appeared to be issued by [a school]. Both of these computers appeared to be brand new and unused. Both computers were still in their boxes which were located on the floor of the master bedroom.

“Detectives noticed several small bugs running around the floors and on the walls. In the middle of the kitchen floor, detectives noticed a very large trash bag filled with old food and other waste.

“Detectives also located prescription pills prescribed to Zakye in January and April of 2023.” Details on them were redacted.

The document continued with information from the boy’s autopsy.

“It was determined that Zakye was severely malnourished, causing substantial loss of bone density.

“Zakye had bed sores throughout his body to include both hips and the length of his back.

“Zakye had fresh bruising to the right side of his eye and cheek.

“Zakye had several small linear scars across his torso and legs. Medical personnel indicated that these scars may be consistent with being struck by a large flexible object.

“Zakye also had several small scars on his right hand and arm. Medical personnel stated that Zakye appeared to have not been able to move on his own for an extended period of time and that it was likely that he would have had been unable to make these marks on himself.”

But the result of the autopsy was inconclusive.

Further investigation found Zakye got good medical reports in 2019 and 2020.

Finally, last Thursday, Feb. 8, doctors at the medical examiner’s office revealed “Zakye’s cause of death is due to complications of neglect and abuse, and the manner of death is homicide.”

Nelson was arrested on charges of first-degree felony murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and aggravated child abuse. She’s being held without bond.

Nelson, 43, has a history of theft in Volusia County.

Last year, she spent three hours in jail and in 2009, she served seven-and-a-half months.

Ironically, she worked at a Burger King restaurant at the time of this arrest.

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