Stone Mountain mother charged with murder in death of girl, 3 -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Stone Mountain mother charged with murder in death of girl, 3

Meriel Bemis Meriel Bemis

The investigation into the death of a toddler in Stone Mountain has now been ruled a homicide investigation, according to DeKalb County police.

Officers responded to a call about a person down at the Landmark at Mountain View Apartments in the 4700 block of Russwood Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

Neighbor Felicia Jerry was surprised when she found out about the child.

Once on scene, officers discovered the 3-year-old child unresponsive inside the bathroom.

"I'm in this building and a couple feet away. You're lying in bed at night and not thinking that a child is being killed a couple of feet away from where you live. That's blowing my mind right now," said Jerry.

The child, identified as Lela Bemis, was taken to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

Detectives have determined the child was at the home alone with her mother, Meriel Bemis, 21, at the time the incident occurred.

Meriel Bemis' boyfriend returned to the home when he discovered the child not breathing and unresponsive and called police.

"The exact nature of the child's death, the manner in which she died, we are not disclosing at this time," said DeKalb police spokeswoman Mekka Parish. "There are a number of factors that our detectives still need to investigate. They are also still waiting on autopsy reports."

Both the child's mother and boyfriend were initially questioned.

Meriel Bemis was arrested and is charged with murder. Her boyfriend is not facing any charges.

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