Mother, grandmother indicted in death of starved baby in Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A mother and a grandmother have been indicted in the death of a 17-month-old boy, who detectives say was starved to death.

The 23-year-old mother, Chisa Hughes, faces first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated child neglect. The grandmother, 49-year-old Katina Ballard, was indicted on failure to report child abuse and aggravated child neglect. Both were arrested Wednesday.

Jerald Hicks Jr. was brought to the emergency room by his father, Jerald Hicks, in January. Police said the baby had a body temperature level so low it could not be registered, and he weighed only 10 pounds.

The father was also arrested and is currently being held without bond after being indicted on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect.

Police said a second child, a 2-year-old girl, was also suffering from severe malnutrition.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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