Nearly a year before Reygan Moon was found dead, weighing 14 pounds, the toddler's grandmother brought her to a hospital and told the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services the girl was being starved, a Gwinnett County detective said Wednesday.
Devin Shameka Moon, Reygan's mother, has been charged with first-degree cruelty to children and murder in connection with the toddler's death. Devin Moon faced a preliminary hearing Wednesday to determine whether there was probable cause for the charges to proceed.
>> On AJC.com: Georgia mom charged with murder after toddler dies of malnutrition
Devin Moon called 911 around 3:30 p.m. on July 24, saying her daughter was dead and cold to the touch. When police arrived at Devin Moon's Lilburn home, nearly 3-year-old Reygan Moon weighed only 14 pounds, with "little to no muscle, little to no body fat," said Detective Micah Hegwood at the Wednesday hearing. Her skin was "like leather" and extremely wrinkled, he said.
The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office declared the cause of death neglect by malnutrition and dehydration. The medical examiner could not determine how long Reygan had been dead because she “had no muscle mass,” Hegwood said.
GCPD has arrested Devin Moon for first degree cruelty to children and felony murder. The victim was her daughter, who was 2 years and 11 months old. pic.twitter.com/dGa6aVagI4— Gwinnett Police Dept (@GwinnettPd) July 26, 2018
Reygan was in an aunt’s custody for the first two years of her life, Hegwood said; he did not specify why Devin Moon did not have custody. Devin Moon gained custody of her daughter in May 2017, and did not allow the aunt to see the girl after that. In September 2017, Reygan’s grandmother became concerned that the girl was not being fed at home and brought her to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Eggleston Hospital. Reygan weighed between 20 and 22 pounds, slightly below what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider a healthy weight for a 2-year-old child.
A DFCS investigation was begun, but Reygan was released back into the care of her mother, Hegwood said. The grandmother and the rest of Devin Moon’s family did not see Reygan again after she was released from the hospital.
DFCS did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Devin Moon worked overnight shifts as a dancer at a strip club and stopped hiring babysitters for Reygan in November 2017, she told police. The girl was asleep on the living room couch when Devin Moon left for work around 8 p.m. July 23, she told police, and still asleep when she returned at 4:30 a.m. Devin Moon went to bed, waking up at 2:30 p.m. July 24. That’s when she became concerned that Reygan had not woken up and called 911, she told police.
Devin Moon claimed her daughter ate regularly, and told police the girl had two packets of instant grits and 12-piece chicken nuggets from McDonald’s the day before her death. The home was stocked with food, Hegwood said. That led Hegwood to believe Reygan was intentionally starved.
“It was a willful act,” Hegwood said. “It was not for lack of resource.”
Devin Moon’s room in the two-bedroom apartment was “well-furnished” with a large TV and bed, but the second bedroom was vacant and a closet was filled with boxes. There was no bed for Reygan that police saw, Hegwood said.
The apartment was cleaned out within two days of Reygan’s death. When Hegwood searched the vacant apartment, he saw the closet that had been filled with boxes was empty and covered in feces and urine; he now believes that’s where Reygan Moon was kept while her mother was at work.
Devin Moon remains in the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond. The issue of bond will be addressed by Gwinnett County Superior Court at a later date.
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