SMYRNA, Ga. - Through an open records request, Channel 2 Action News has learned more about the life of a 16-year-old who authorities believed
died of starvation June 15.
Markea Berry of Smyrna was home schooled by her mother, Ebony Berry. Berry says Markea was born with mental issues and was anorexic.
But documents show Berry failed to seek medical attention for
two years for Markea after she was found living in a Cobb County Walmart.
Markea said she was staying there because she didn't want to be a burden to her mother anymore.
The Division of Family and Children Services began investigating and noticed then that the Markea was extremely thin.
In documents, case workers said Ebony on many occasions would not let them inside her
home, and when Berry's children were asked, they said they were eating properly.
Case workers said they suspected Berry had instructed
her children to lie and not trust outsiders. Her four children range in age from 2 months to 16 years.
The three children other than Markea appeared to be of normal weight.
Documents show Berry had a case file going back 10 years to the state of Michigan, were relatives told Channel 2 Acton News, "
Ebony always hated that child. She only left here (Michigan) because we were trying to get the girl some help."
Berry is charged with murder and is being held in the Cobb County Jail without bail.
The other three children are being cared for by DFACS.
Channel 2's Dave Huddleton contacted DFACS officials on why more wasn't done to protect Markea, since they knew something wasn't right at the house in 2010.
His call has not yet been returned.