A “skeletal” toddler weighing just 12lbs died as a result of heavy blows to her head, detectives believe.
Tragic 19-month-old Samiah Crater was killed just four months after she was returned to her parents, who have been charged with murder.
The little girl suffered “blunt force trauma to the head”, a postmortem carried out in Tennessee found.
At the time she died her ribs and spine were visible and her cheeks were sunken, court documents said.
Parents Sapora D. Walton, 20, and Jeremiah T. Crater, 22, were arrested on Wednesday and charged with first degree murder and aggravated child abuse.
Police said Samiah was in “good health” when she was placed back in her parents’ care in October, having been looked after by the state’s Department of Children’s Services for more than a year.
An autopsy found the victim was suffering from “severe” malnourishment when she died, the Johnson City Press reports.
A report by coroners ruled: “The death was deemed as a homicide.”
Johnson City Police Captain Kevin Peters said in a statement that Samiah died at the scene after officers were called to reports she was unresponsive on February 21.