Couple now charged with murder in death of 7-year-old daughter

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by Velma Scaife, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 10:29 AM

Child death investigation

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UPDATE: 11/6 11:10 a.m.: Newport News police charged Terri and Pamela Dennis with felony murder. The original charge was felony child neglect.

UPDATE:  According to arrest warrants, the couple's adopted daughter Terrilynn had spina bifida and was considered a special needs child. The child had complained about her stomach hurting all day the day she died. She didn't eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and was not talking or playing. She also had black bowel movements all day.

At around 8 p.m. Pamela Dennis noticed her daughter's tongue was purple and she was unresponsive. According to the warrants, Terri Dennis said he knew from his military medical training his daughter was getting ready to pass.  He planned to make a doctor's appointment for her but didn't. From the time they noticed the strange bowel movements and her tongue turned purple until the time they called 911 was about 8 hours.

NEWPORT NEWS-A Newport News couple is charged in connection with the death of their adopted child.

40-year-old Pamela Dennis and 31-year-old Terri Dennis were arrested Monday on a charge of felony child neglect.

Their seven-year-old daughter, Terrilynn Destiny Dennis, died in April, but police say it took time for the medical examiner to determine how the girl died.

Spokesman Lou Thurston says the medical examiner's officer ruled the child's death a homicide, but there isn't enough evidence right now to charge the pair with murder.

The couple had been the Terrilynn's foster parents until they adopted her. Police say the girl had a number of medical issues and was adopted in December 2012 from Louisiana.

Other charges could be placed later, according to police.

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