Family of children trapped in fire speaks up for mother - WNCN: News, Weather

UPDATE: Family of children trapped in fire speaks up for mother; D.A. releases statement

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UPDATE: District Attorney General Bill Gibbons released the following statement Wednesday about the status of the investigation into the death of a three-year-old child that was left alone by his mother in a house that later caught fire:

"As District Attorney, I am very concerned for the welfare of the children in our community, and will prosecute anyone who victimizes a child. Regarding the deadly fire on Monday in which a three-year-old child was killed and a two-year-old child was seriously injured, it is our duty to review all of the facts, evidence and information, and once the entire investigation is completed, we will make a charging decision. At this point, we are still waiting for pertinent information to this investigation. It would not be appropriate to make a decision to charge the mother or anyone else in this case without having all of the facts. Once we get the complete investigation from the Memphis Police Department, Memphis Fire Department and the Shelby County Medical Examiner we will act quickly to determine the appropriate course of action to take in this case."


By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Stuffed animals decorated the exterior of 23-year-old Melanie Dunn's South Memphis apartment Tuesday, a day after fire claimed the life of her three-year-old and left her two-year-old son critically injured.

At first, Dunn's family was clearly not interested in talking with Action News 5.  But an aunt and a cousin later called in order to make one thing clear.

"She loves her kids. She loves them to death," said her aunt, Christean Mullins.  "And she's not a bad person, and she just made the wrong judgement yesterday."

They admit Dunn made a big mistake when she left her toddlers locked inside the home alone, while they say she went to get her five-year-old child from school.

"Not ever thinking anything like this would happen," said cousin Andrea Burnside.

Another aunt, with whom we spoke on the scene Monday, claimed she and Dunn left the children to go shopping at Citi Trends on South Third.  But these family members say her nonchalant attitude was uncalled for.

"She's on drugs real bad and has mental problems, and didn't understand a lot of the questions the media was asking her," said Burnside about that aunt

They say the entire family is feeling the effects of Dunn's actions and the resulting criticism.

"It hurts me," Mullins said.  "It hurts all of us."

"We are very remorseful," Burnside added.

They are also sorry Dunn's grief over the death of her son may soon be compounded by possible jail time.

The Memphis Police Department says its investigation is complete.  A grand jury is expected to determine what charges are filed.  Meantime, the cause of Monday's fire remains under investigation.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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