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Mom Sought for Murder After 13-Year-Old Boy Dies from Malnutrition, Dehydration

A 13-year-old Alabama boy who was found dead at an extended stay hotel in March died from malnutrition and dehydration, complicated by neglect.

Shelby County Coroner Linda Evans contacted Birmingham police on June 6 and told them that she had classified Aston Starkey’s death a homicide, reported.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue responded to Extended Stay America on March 2 and transported Starkey, who had Down syndrome, to Grandview Hospital, where staff pronounced him dead. Birmingham police officers and the Shelby County Department of Human Resources launched unclassified death investigations, and the preliminary investigation determined that the boy died under suspicious circumstances.

Detectives presented the new findings to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office on Friday and obtained a warrant for the boy’s mother, 43-year-old Serena Starkey, charging her with murder, WBRC reported.

According to, Aston Starkey was born in Florida. He and his mother moved frequently and had been in Birmingham for about a year. The teen was not enrolled in school and rarely, if ever, saw a doctor. Police said they have have been in Montgomery prior to coming to Birmingham.

Anyone with information about Serena Starkey’s whereabouts is asked to call Birmingham police at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.