A Brooklyn mother accused of starving, drugging and beating her 4-year-old daughter to death says she never harmed the child.
Carlotta Brett-Pierce acknowledged at her trial Monday that the girl "had lost weight," but said she "didn't look bad."
Brett-Pierce and her mother, Loretta Brett, are charged with murder in the death of Marchella in September of 2010. She weighed half what a child her age should, and had bruises and cuts on her body.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty and say they were doing the best they could.
The outcome of the murder trial may have repercussions for the child welfare workers once assigned to the family. They were charged with criminally negligent homicide and have also pleaded not guilty.
The search for two Tennessee girls is intensifying after their mother and older sister were found dead at their alleged kidnapper's house in north Mississippi.
The FBI says the bodies of Jo Ann Bain and her 14-year-old daughter, Adrienne Bain, were found behind Adam Mayes' house near Guntown. The FBI says agents believe Bain's 12- and 8-year-old daughters are still with Mayes.
The search for a man accused of abducting a Tennessee woman and her three young daughters has intensified after authorities said the mother and her oldest daughter were found dead in north Mississippi, behind a house belonging to the alleged kidnapper.
Authorities are looking for Adam Mayes, a 35-year-old family friend accused of abducting Jo Ann Bain and her daughters. Mayes was at the Bains' house helping them pack to move to Arizona when the mother and her three daughters vanished April 27, authorities said.
Bain and her three daughters disappeared April 27 as the family was packing to move to Arizona. Mayes was with them helping the family when they vanished.
FBI agents with rifles joined K-9 units and SWAT teams looking for Mayes in the woods and back roads near Guntown.
Mayes was last seen a week ago in Guntown, about 80 miles south of the Bain family's home in Whiteville, Tenn.
Both Gary Bain and Mayes were once married to sisters, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.
Mayes had stayed over at the Bains' house to help the family pack and load up a U-Haul to drive across the country to Arizona, Helm said. Gary Bain, who was at the house that night, awoke to find his wife, daughters and Mayes gone.
He couldn't reach his wife on her cell phone that day, and reported them missing when the girls didn't get off the school bus.
Linda Kirkland, a family friend and cook at the Country Cafe in Whiteville, said the woman and her daughters were moving to Arizona because two of the girls had asthma.
Mayes also has ties to Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
Mayes and the Bains were known around Whiteville, a town of about 4,500 people 60 miles east of Memphis. Mayes was a longtime friend of Bain's husband and had been at their home the evening before they disappeared, police said.