XENIA — The mother of the 12-year-old Xenia girl who died in her home last June has been indicted in Greene County Common Pleas Court.
Mary Artis was charged with three counts of felony child endangering in connection with the death of Aaliyah Artis, according to Xenia police. The cause of death is listed as a lung injury, with contributing factors of weight loss, malnutrition, and poor living conditions, police said. The Greene County Coroner ruled the manner of Artis’ death as undetermined and the lung injury is not suspected to be the result of external trauma but instead was likely caused by a medical condition, according to a press release from XPD.
“There is no evidence at this time to suggest Aaliyah’s death was purposeful,” the press release said. “Mary Artis has cooperated with the investigation.”
On June 8, 2021, Xenia police and fire crews responded to the home in the 1500 block of Texas Drive on a report of a 12-year-old who was not breathing. Artis was pronounced dead at the scene, while one other child and one adult sibling who were found living at the residence with their mother were transported to the hospital for evaluation.
“The conditions inside the residence were among the worst seen by investigators,” according to police. “The siblings were immediately removed from the home and placed in the care of another family member.”
The coroner’s report, which was inspected by this newspaper last year, contains photos showing bags of trash in several rooms and the home in a general state of disarray. Artis, who celebrated her 12th birthday three days before her death, had “ground-in filth” on her body, showed signs of poor hygiene, was wearing soiled clothes, and had what appeared to be bites from bed bugs, the coroner’s report said.
When she was found by police, she was wearing no socks or shoes, according to the report.
One of the charges against Artis is a third-degree felony while the other two are fourth-degree felonies. Artis’ first court appearance is scheduled for May 6, according to court records.
“These charges are supported by the deplorable living conditions which were discovered on the date of the incident,” the press release said.
The home, owned by Greene Metropolitan Housing Authority, was unable to be inspected at the time due to COVID-19.
“During COVID it was protocol not to do home inspections and that was HUB guidance, CDC guidance, health department guidance,” Mark Donatelli, the attorney representing GMHA, previously told this newspaper. “You can’t do a home inspection with adequate distancing and hand sanitizer, that sort of thing.”
Exterior inspections were completed and didn’t alert anyone to an issue, Donatelli said.
The home had been inspected previously and the tenant was sent to and required to complete a housekeeping class and health and safety classes due to the result of the inspections, Donatelli said. The home was again inspected and was “fine” Donatelli added.
Artis was a student in Xenia Community Schools, which had contacted local police and children services about the girl months before her death, according to Kristy Creel, district coordinator of communications.
It is unknown if there were any open cases regarding Artis with the Greene County Department of Job & Family Services.
“We are prohibited by law from sharing confidential child welfare case information,” Director Beth A. Rubin said in June. “We do investigate allegations of abuse and neglect as well as help families with a variety of supportive services. Our investigation teams works closely with law enforcement and other community partners.”
Donatelli said his client was never notified about the conditions inside the house.
“Despite what anybody said, nobody ever contacted Greene Met regarding complaints about the interior of the home,” he said.