JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An autopsy report in the death of a mentally disabled 13-year-old girl earlier this year provides more disturbing details into how she died.
Jessica Rivera, 30, is charged with manslaughter in the death of her daughter, Ramona Bones. Police arrested her over the summer after she reported her daughter was unresponsive.
At the time, she was charged with child neglect because of the filthy conditions in which her daughter was found.
Those who live around the Arlington home say they're still in a state of shock, even more so now that they've heard details from the autopsy report and how Bones suffered before she died, according to prosecutors.
"I get chills just thinking about it," neighbor Linda Pacheco said.
Prosecutors say Rivera didn't do enough to help her daughter, who she claimed had the mental capacity of a 5- to 7-year-old girl and was sometimes a burden to her.
"Neglect is actually the deadliest form of child abuse there is," said Dr. Randy Alexander, of the University of Florida & Shands Child Protection Team. "About two-thirds or three-quarters of all child abuse deaths that cover all forms of child abuse are neglect."
Alexander wouldn't comment directly on the details of this case, but he works with a team of doctors who investigate child deaths.
In Bones' autopsy, doctors say she had chronic diaper rash consistent with her not being potty trained. They found a history of body and hair lice and ant infestations, with a few dead insects still present.
Doctors say she also had sepsis, including staph, according to the autopsy report. She also had a height and weight far below the 5th percentile at just 66 pounds.
Despite the medical complications, the listed manner of death is natural causes, with mental retardation, malnutrition and diaper rash listed as contributing factors.
"Neglect can be slow and insidious, but it can be really bad," Alexander said.
Neighbors said they never even knew Rivera had a 13-year-old daughter. They said the only time they ever saw her was when police brought her out.
"When they came out with the kid, I thought she was 6, 7 years old," neighbor Wesley Lutrell said. "She was wearing a diaper."
The Department of Children and Families continues to work alongside investigators in conducting interviews and studying what took place in the home. DCF says it will be incorporating details of the autopsy into its findings to determine if this is a case of abuse or neglect.
"We owe it to this child to do a full investigation of what happened," DCF spokesman John Harrell said.
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