The mother of a 7-year-old boy whose mummified remains were found in the basement of an apartment will not receive a million-dollar payout from the state, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Melinda Williams has no right to inherit the money from Faheem Williams because she abused and neglected him and his two brothers, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey found in a 3-0 decision that upheld a lower court ruling.
Melinda Williams had sought Faheem's $1 million share of a $7.5 million settlement paid by New Jersey in 2006 amid charges of failures by its Division of Youth and Family Services. Instead, all the money will go to care for the surviving boys, who are in foster care.
The brothers — Faheem's twin Raheem Williams, and 4-year-old Tyrone Hill Jr. — were found starving and clad in clothes soaked in urine and feces in a locked room adjacent to where the corpse was found.
Melinda Williams had entrusted the three boys to a cousin, Sherry L. Murphy, so she could serve a jail term. She was freed and living in New York when Faheem died after being injured by Murphy's teenage son.
Authorities never charged Melinda Williams with mistreating her children, but records show she repeatedly ignored agreements with DYFS to improve her parenting. The surviving boys also told caseworkers that Melinda Williams abused them, including by burning them with cigarettes.