Abused woman who weighed 40 pounds dies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 22-year-old girl who weighed just 40 pounds has died.

Rebecca Cotten, who had cerebral palsy, died Thursday night, according to her family.

This week, Cotten’s mother Jennifer was charged with aggravated assault, abuse and neglect, and violating bail conditions.

This is not the first time Cotten has faced these charges.

Cotten was ordered by a judge to stay away her from daughter after she left her in a hot car last summer.

Instead, police say Cotten has been recklessly taking care of her daughter the entire year.

Even state agencies couldn’t help save Rebecca.

The two lived in a house on Jamerson without electricity.

Earlier this month, the house caught fire and Rebecca suffered severe burns.

Some might say the young woman’s mother is at fault for Rebecca’s death. After all, she’s charged with abuse and neglect.

However, the mother’s boyfriend who says he helped care for the child says the mother did all she could and got no help from anyone.

“You need to investigate the true side of Jennifer not the bad. A single mother raised 3 kids on her own and worked with disabled children all her life. Why would she hurt her own child. This is terrible accident that happened and y’all are blowing it way out of proportion,” William King said.

King says Jennifer Cotten and Rebecca stayed with him for most of the last eight or nine years. Even though the young woman was extremely frail and malnourished, he says Cotten was actually the only one who cared for her.

King said, “Her daddy tried to give the kid to everybody and nobody wanted her. Nobody. The district attorney’s office downtown sent the police over here and police wouldn’t even do nothing about it. They said nobody wants her what are we supposed to do. Now, y’all want to lock people up for trying to take care of a child.”

Police reports show another side to Jennifer Cotten.

One report claims Rebecca was left alone in a house when it caught fire and she had meth in her system.

Last August, Jennifer Cotten agreed to stay away from her daughter, Rebecca, after leaving the 40-pound woman alone in a hot car. The state placed her with other family members.

“Her brother couldn’t handle her. Her brother and daddy brought her over here and said we can’t do it. Child services. Nobody would do anything with her. Jennifer is the only one who ever cared for that child or done anything with her. She’s the only one who would,” said King.

He defends Cotten. Now, it’s up to a lawyer to do it before a judge.

“Nobody wants to change the diaper of a 22-year-old kid. Feed her. Nobody wants that. Her mother wanted it. Y’all dogged her for that. Have a nice day, please, I’m going to say something I regret. Please,” said King.

We reached out to DHS. It said it can’t comment because of privacy laws. DCS was never involved in this case because Rebecca was an adult.

Jennifer Cotten has a 6-year-old daughter currently in state custody.