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BRIDGETON – A Cumberland County grand jury has indicted a Millville woman on first-degree murder and other charges in the alleged death-by-neglect of her 24-year-old disabled son.

Walter L. Brown Jr., who suffered from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, weighed 73 pounds at the time of his death last year, with a height of a little more than 5 feet 8 inches, an autopsy report states. 

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The indictment accuses Cinnamon A. Corley, 44, of acting in a “wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman way,” special language that indicates the prosecution is seeking a mandatory life prison sentence for her.

Authorities say documents indicate Corley was her son’s only caregiver. He was one of 12 children.

Dr. Ian Hood, a medical examiner, reported the body had a number of pressure sores and some were “deep enough to expose portions of Walter’s bones.”

An affidavit of probable cause for her arrest states Brown was “extremely emaciated” with “at least three large open wounds on the lower portion of his back.”

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“In a photograph that depicts Walter’s left ear, it appeared that there is a hole through his ear and an open sore exposing the under layer of skin,” the affidavit states. “All the wounds on his body appeared to be infected, as there was discoloration surrounding the opening of the wounds as well as within the wound.”

The case started when Bridgeton police officers were called in early in the morning of April 12, 2017, to a Vine Street home for a report of a man in cardiac arrest. Officers discovered that Brown already was dead, and after investigation arrested Corley.

Police and the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office conducted a joint investigation.

The affidavit states an autopsy attributed Brown’s death to sepsis and pneumonia due to infected pressure ulcers, and a contributing cause of death was cerebral palsy.

It states Hood had last been seen by a doctor, for a “well visit,” on Sept. 30, 2016, and had no health complications at that time.

“It was noted that Cinnamon Corley was with him at the time of the visit and informed medical staff that she took Walter off his seizure medicine for the past year or so, as she believed the medication was having an ill effect on his behavior,” the affidavit states. “During this visit, Walter’s weight was not documented.”

The affidavit also notes Brown had been taken to the Bridgeton Health Center emergency room in April 2015 with symptoms of nausea and vomiting. At that time, he weighed 149 pounds.

The affidavit reports Brown was bedridden for a week before his death. He was unable to retain solid food in the two days before he died and was vomiting. He was on a liquid diet of Powerade and Ensure in an effort to help him, it states.

Corley, a resident of Holly Berry Lane, also faces charges of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and third-degree neglect of a disabled person. Those charges allege she demonstrated “extreme indifference to human life” and had a legal duty to care for Brown.

Court records show Corley was arrested on May 24, 2017.

She is scheduled for arraignment on Jan. 2 before Superior Court Judge Michael Silvanio.

Joseph P. Smith; jpsmith_dj; (856) 563-5252; jsmith@gannettnj.com

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