Crime & Safety

Mother admits role in her 4-year-old son’s death; footage revealed she kept him in harrowing conditions in the basement and also something much worse

In a heart-wrenching case, the mother of a 4-year-old boy, pleaded guilty to charges related to her son’s tragic death in October 2021. Court documents and surveillance footage unveiled a harrowing tale of neglect, isolation, and abuse within the confines of the household.

27-year-old Mary Y. entered a guilty plea in court concerning the death of her son in October 2021.

Mary was the mother of 4-year-old Judah. The young boy’s lifeless body was discovered in the residence she occupied with the child’s father, Alan M. Mary faced charges which included neglect of a dependent resulting in death and animal cruelty. Additionally, she was charged with neglect of a dependent and failure to report.

Court documents provided unsettling details about the living conditions in the household. Surveillance footage from days preceding Judah’s tragic death depicted Mary grabbing one of her sons by the arm and throwing him onto the floor, court records showed.

Once the child was on the floor, Mary was seen kicking him and grabbing his arm once again. She was then seen yanking him toward the side of the couch, at which point the child fell back onto the floor.

Mary was seen kicking him several more times before the child got up, and ran crying to his bedroom at the end of the hall, according to court records.

Judah was not the child involved in that incident, but more video taken the following day showed Mary and Alan leaving the home with all their children, except Judah.

Court records showed one of the children told investigators Alan and Mary frequently kept Judah in the basement, alone and in the dark, as punishment.

When they returned back home nearly two hours later, video showed Judah walking naked from the basement area through the living room and into the bathroom. Mary and Alan were seen following him.

A review of court documents from Oct. 11, 2021, paint a sobering picture of the conditions that Judah likely faced inside the home for years.

Court documents show Alan and Mary’s kitchen fridge had a cord attached to a key-style lock, “so no one could open it,” detectives said in an affidavit.

Filth, garbage and animal feces were found throughout the home

More disturbing, though, was what police reportedly found in the basement. It was cold, with no working lights. Torn-off bits of silver and camouflage duct tape were strewn about the cold room, and several pieces were taped to a wall.

In one corner, police found a small pair of training pants and an infant-style toilet.

Human waste rotted inside, not far from where a lone fluffy blanket was found, with small pieces of the same silver duct tape that was on the walls, attached.

When detectives later interviewed Mary, she told them those were all techniques her husband would use to punish Judah for not being potty-trained.

Mary told police Judah was sent to the basement three times a week, sometimes for days. That reportedly included a time when the rest of the family was upstairs for a birthday party, having cake.

When officers asked a 7-year-old victim where Judah was during that party, the child responded “in the basement, where he normally was.” Other child victims told police they saw Judah bound with duct tape around his hands and ankles, or with his arms behind his back.

Alan was sentenced Nov. 29, 2022, to 70 years in prison for beating and torturing him to death. Although Alan pleaded guilty — and may have gotten a lighter sentence because of it — the judge ruled the extent of abuse Judah suffered, and the reality that other children bore witness to it, necessitated a lengthy prison sentence.

Mary faces a maximum sentence of 40 years for both counts. A jury trial had been scheduled for Mary in September, but it will be canceled due to the guilty plea. Mary’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1.

Lowell Bowen

From the time he was 8 years old Lowell knew he wanted to be on TV. Well, as people say one thing leads to another, that's how Lowell started his career in the news industry. Lowell has been part of The South Florida Daily since the very beginning.

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