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Tennessee Woman Charged With Rape And Murder Of Toddler

Molly Jane Roe

First Posted: 06/16/11 09:54 AM ET Updated: 08/16/11 06:12 AM ET

Police in West Tennessee have charged a 24-year-old woman with the rape and murder of a 17-month-old girl.

Molly Jane Roe of Bells, a small city located 150 miles southwest of Nashville, has been in police custody since last Thursday. Roe was initially charged with aggravated child abuse, but those charges were upgraded Sunday, following the toddler's death.

The victim, whom police have identified as Maleeya Marie Murley, was the daughter of Roe's boyfriend. According to police, he was not involved in his daughter's death.

Maleeya Murley was flown to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville on June 7, with a severe brain injury. During an examination of the child, doctors discovered severe bruising to her hips, abdomen and vagina. A bite mark was also discovered on the toddlers back.

A copy of Roe's arrest affidavit states the child received her brain injury when Roe threw her, causing her to hit her head on a blunt object, the Jackson Sun reported.

The child, who doctors attempted to save by placing on life support, died Saturday night.

Roe is being held without bond at the Crockett County Jail. She is scheduled to appear in Crockett County General Sessions Court tomorrow morning.

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