CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For the first time, News 2 spoke with a Clarksville mother accused of starving her 13-year-old son to death last year.
Cheyenne Maddox is charged with first degree murder after her son, Kadaris Maddox, who suffered from cerebral palsy, died of starvation. According to an autopsy report, Kadaris was just 35 pounds when he died.
Cheyenne, now in the Montgomery County Jail, spoke with News 2 wanting to discuss custody concerns with her other six children, who she said are currently in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. During her discussion with News 2, Cheyenne shared her side of the story.
Cheyenne said Kadaris was her first of seven children and his death has been hard to cope with.
“I devoted my life to him. He taught me patience and he was a great kid,” Cheyenne told News 2’s Nikki McGee.
An autopsy report showed Kadaris died of malnutrition, and ruled the manner of death a suspected homicide. Roughly a year ago, Clarksville police testified they couldn’t find a blender needed to process Kadaris’ food in order to feed him.
“I anticipated to find some kind of food processor or blender to facilitate that liquid diet,” Detective Bryan Hughes said in court.
“Did you find those?” an attorney asked.
“I was unable to,” Hughes responded.
However, Cheyenne told News 2 she could position food in Kadaris’ mouth, so a blender wasn’t always needed. She disagrees with the autopsy’s findings and instead thinks he suffocated himself by accident.
“I think it’s from where he was wrapped up in his blanket,” Cheyenne said. “I mean the allegations that are being made are false. You know, I did not do what they said that I did to my son.”
Police removed five other children from the family home due to the condition of the house, resulting in additional charges of child abuse and neglect. Cheyenne said she had just moved in.
Ultimately, Cheyenne said she believes she will be found innocent and charges will be dropped.
“I love my son very much and I didn’t hurt him. It’s not like I just woke up one day and decided to give up on my son,” Cheyenne said. “I’m just a mom who loves her kids dearly. I’m just a mom that misses her kids and misses her son.”
Again, Cheyenne wanted to discuss her other children who she would like to see placed with relatives. For now, they remain in DCS custody. Cheyenne told News 2 that 13 relatives have requested to have her children placed with them.
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DCS told News 2 they cannot discuss specific cases, but they did provide the following statement:
“The Department’s protocol when exploring placement options for a child begins with both state and federal background checks for the proposed custodian/s. We then visit the home to ensure it is a safe environment and that resources are available to care for the child. Those findings are presented to the court, where the judge makes final custody decisions. Pursuant to state and federal law we are unable to provide specific information regarding children and families served by DCS.”
News 2 reached out to the Montgomery County Juvenile Court to ask about petitions made requesting custody of the children. A court employee checked with the judge and told News 2 he did not wish to get into specifics, due to privacy concerns.