LAPORTE COUNTY — A northwest Indiana woman accused in the 2021 death of her 4-year-old son is now facing three additional charges, court records show.
Mary Yoder, the mother of Judah Morgan, had already been charged with four charges, including neglect of a dependent resulting in death, neglect of a dependent with cruel confinement, cruelty to an animal and failure to make a report.
She's now charged with two additional neglect counts and one count of domestic battery to a person less than 14 years old.
Judah had spent the first four years of his life with foster parents. He died just months after the Indiana Department of Child Services gave custody back to his biological parents, Yoder and his father Alan Morgan.
Morgan has also been charged in connection with Judah's death. He faces charges including murder, animal cruelty, battery and neglect of a dependent.
Police began their investigation on Oct. 9, 2021, when Yoder called 911 and said Morgan had lost his temper and hurt Judah.
Investigators later found Judah inside a bedroom, naked and covered in a blanket with bruises all over his body and on his face and head.
Court records state that Judah was duct-taped in a basement and was starved.
Yoder told investigators Judah was sent to the basement around three times a week as punishment for not being potty-trained like his other three siblings in the house.
The lights were purposely shut off as a "scare tactic", records allege.
According to records, Judah's mother said he was forced to stay in the basement naked with only a fuzzy blanket for days before being allowed back upstairs and that his father would duct tape his hands and feet and physically abuse him.
Records also state that the home where Judah died was described as having a "strong pungent odor of urine and rotting food" with clothing garbage, and animal fecal matter all over the house. It also said the refrigerator had a cord attached to it that prevented anyone from opening the door.
At four months old, Judah was taken in by his cousin and foster mother Jenna Hullett following abuse allegations against his parents.
Hullett said that after Judah was returned to his parents' custody, she warned DCS multiple times that he was in harm's way but nothing was done.
Hullett and other family members believe the system mishandled the case.
Yoder is scheduled to appear for a three-day jury trial from Jan. 9 to 11.
In September, Morgan pleaded guilty to the murder and battery counts. He is scheduled to appear for a sentencing hearing on Nov. 29.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.