Skip to main content

Mom Faces Murder Case After 13-Year-Old Son with Special Needs Starves to Death

Cheyenne Dawn Maddox via the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office

Cheyenne Dawn Maddox via the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

A 32-year-old mother in Tennessee is accused of killing her 13-year-old son earlier this year by starving the young boy with special needs to death.

Cheyenne Dawn Maddox turned herself over to authorities Sunday evening after being indicted on one count of first-degree felony murder in the July 2022 death of Kadaris Maddox, police announced.

Authorities previously charged Maddox with five counts of aggravated child abuse/neglect/endangerment of a child in August. Those charges stem from the living conditions of the other children living in her home. She was released after posting a surety bond of $75,000, according to online court records.

According to a press release from the Clarksville Police Department, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel on July 6, 2022 responded to a call about an unresponsive child at a residence located on Virginia Terrace. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders discovered Kadaris’ body inside of the home. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Due to the child’s death and the “unsafe conditions” inside of the home, medical personnel contacted CPD and an investigation into Kadaris’ death was opened.

An autopsy performed by Forensic Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Kent of the Center for Forensic Medicine determined that Kadaris’ manner of death was a homicide. The cause of death was determined to be malnutrition, according to a report from Clarksville Now. The boy, who reportedly lived with cerebral palsy and required a wheelchair, was only 3-feet 10 inches tall and weighed a mere 32 pounds at the time of his death.

Additionally, the medical examiner reportedly found that Kadaris had injuries in various states of healing — a textbook indicator of long-term physical abuse. The autopsy report said the boy had “small abrasions, healing abrasions, multiple well-healed scars, and a few superficial ulcers,” but noted that he had “no broken bones or internal injuries,” per Clarksville Now.

Following the autopsy results, Detective Bryan Hughes with the CPD Special Operations Homicide Unit this month presented evidence of the investigation to the Montgomery County Grand Jury, which returned an indictment for Maddox on the charge of first-degree felony murder.

Maddox is currently being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $1,000,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court before Tennessee Circuit Court Judge William R. Goodman III on Nov. 17.

Authorities emphasized that the investigation into Kadaris’ death remains ongoing and urged anyone with information relevant to the case to contact Det. Hughes at (931) 648-0656, ext. 5684.

Maddox is being represented by criminal defense attorney Chase T. Smith, court records show. Smith did not immediately respond to a message from Law&Crime regarding the state’s case against his client.

Dawn Maddox, Cheyenne’s mother and Kadaris’ grandmother, reportedly told Clarksville Now in September that she knew her grandson died because of parental mistreatment.

“It’s hard to say how I feel because that is my daughter and I love her. How could she do something like this? Because he was a good baby,” she reportedly told the newspaper.

[Image via the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.