SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A 911 call released by authorities Wednesday indicates that family members of 13-year-old Joshua Jacob Mendoza were shocked to find the boy dead in his Summerville home on Feb. 10.
Mendoza's uncle told 911 dispatchers that his sister found the child dead in the mobile home located at 1925 Bacons Bridge Road.
"We don't know what's wrong with him," the uncle said. "My sister tried to resuscitate him. He's disabled. He's not breathing anymore."
After re-confirming the location, the dispatcher transferred the call. During this time, you can hear the distraught sounds of family members in the background. When the next dispatcher came on the line, Mendoza's uncle told her, "My sister just got back from getting her hair done and my nephew, he's not breathing or anything. He's not responsive."
The dispatchers then asked if the boy was unconscious.
"He's not breathing ma'am, he's disabled," the uncle said.
In the background, a woman groans, "He's dead he's dead he's dead."
Mendoza's uncle confirms that the boy is dead one more time before the call ends.
Mendoza's mother and stepfather, 31-year-old Kimberly Marie Love and 29-year-old Jason Monroe Buckley, surrendered to police last Sunday after they were charged with murder following a ruling by the Dorchester County Coroner's Office that Mendoza died of malnutrition and neglect.
Coroner Chris Nisbet said the boy, who suffered from a neurological disorder called tuberous sclerosis, weighed 48 pounds when he died.
Mendoza's grandmother, Kathleen Nicholson, says that her daughter and son-in-law are being falsely accused of murdering her grandson, who she says died in his sleep due to the disease. "He just had a bad disease. He got sick and he just died in his sleep," Nicholson said."It's a genetic disease where he has seizures."
Nisbet released a statement on Tuesday confirming the office's ruling, "In some cases malnutrition is very mild and causes no symptoms, in this case however, it was so severe that it led to a child's death."
Nisbet said that a forensic pathologist conducted the autopsy and a forensic anthropologist investigated Mendoza's skeletal structure to determine the extent of the malnourishment.
"Although the child was diagnosed just after birth with tuberous sclerosis, with proper medical attention and medical care a person can live a long happy life with this condition," Nisbet said. "Unfortunately, this was not the case with Joshua."
According to Nisbet, the forensic pathologist determined the extent of the abuse to be "ongoing and extensive."
"This child was neglected for years and it's devastating to know that this is going on in our community," Nisbet said.