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Decatur mother pleads not guilty in death of 2-year-old

February 27, 2019

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois woman accused in the death of her 2-year-old daughter has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges.

Twanka L. Davis of Decatur is charged with killing Ta’Naja Barnes through starvation and deprivation.

The 21-year-old Davis on Wednesday also pleaded not guilty to endangering the life or health of Ta’Naja by depriving the child of food, water, heat and proper care. She is being held in lieu of $1 million bail. Public Defender David Ellison had no comment on the case against Davis.

Police say the child was taken from her mother in 2018 during a Department of Children and Family Services investigation of child abuse and placed in foster care. She was returned to her mother in August.

DCFS acknowledged its prior contact with Davis, but a spokesman refused to answer any further questions.

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