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Woman sought after son, 13, found in hotel room dies of malnutrition, dehydration

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Police in Alabama have issued an arrest warrant for a woman charged with murder after her malnourished, dehydrated teen son died after he was found in a hotel room three months ago, authorities said.

According to the Birmingham Police Department, Serena Starkey, 43, was charged with murder in the March 2 death of her son, 13-year-old Aston Starkey, WBMA-TV reported.

The boy had Down syndrome, AL.com reported.

The charges were elevated to a homicide on June 7 after detectives presented case information to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, according to WBRC-TV.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service personnel responded to a call at the Extended Stay America on Cahaba Park Circle in Birmingham at around 7:20 a.m. CDT on March 2, WIAT-TV reported.

The teen was taken to Grandview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to the television station.

A preliminary investigation found that the teen had died under “suspicious circumstances,” WBMA reported.

Three months later, the Birmingham Police Department’s Homicide Unit was contacted by the Shelby County Department of Human Resources after an autopsy showed signs of “malnutrition and dehydration complicated by neglect,” WTVM reported.

The medical examiner’s office ruled that the teen’s manner of death was homicide, according to WBMA.

Serena Starkey has not been taken into custody and police are trying to determine her whereabouts, WIAT reported.

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