Xenia mom sentenced to prison for death of daughter found dead in home

XENIA — The Xenia mother of 12-year-old Aaliyah Artis now knows how long she’ll be behind bars.

Mary Artis, 44, was sentenced to 30 months in prison Friday, Greene County Prosecutor David Hayes confirmed. Artis pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangering in November.

Aaliyah Artis was found dead June 8, 2021, three days after her birthday, at her house on Texas Drive.

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“The cause of death is listed as a lung injury, with contributing factors of weight loss, malnutrition, and poor living conditions,” Xenia police said. “The lung injury is not suspected to be the result of external trauma, but instead was likely caused by a medical condition.”

According to coroner’s investigators, Aaliyah had numerous insect bites, possibly from bed bugs, and the house had partially consumed food in every room and there was evidence of insect infestation.

Xenia Community Schools employees brought up concerns they had about the welfare of Aaliyah multiple times to Xenia police and said they also filed reports with Greene County Children Services.

“Aaliyah has cognitive disabilities and she has been engaged in our remote learning form and it has been since September since our teacher has been able to engage or see Aaliyah,” Tecumseh Elementary School Principal Cathryn Rice told police dispatchers in January 2021.

Rice said Aaliyah’s teacher had dropped off school work at the house the previous day, but hadn’t seen her for months.

“She arrived and the curtains were drawn, and the doors were locked…that has been pretty consistent,” Rice said.

Xenia Police body camera footage from Jan. 12, 2021, shows two officers checking on the home after the call from the school district.

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“Hi, we’re doing a welfare check to see if Aaliyah’s here, if she’s ok?” an officer said in the video.

“Yeah, she’s fine,” the woman who answered the door said.

The woman never moved out of the doorway as she spoke briefly with officers.

The officers urged the woman to contact school leaders about Aaliyah’s schooling, then left, apparently without seeing Aaliyah.

About a year earlier, on Jan. 28, 2020, police responded to the house after the school become concerned about Artis not showing up for school for a week. Dispatch records showed Artis’ mother said she had missed the bus and records noted “conditions were fine.”

A county grand jury on April 15 handed up a secret indictment on three counts of endangering children. Following at least two mental health evaluations, Artis was found competent for trial in late September in Judge Aldolfo Tornichio’s courtroom. After entering her guilty plea, a third count of child endangering was dropped.