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Disabled teen who died in house fire was trapped in bed, court documents charging her mother say


WARNING: Some may find the contents of this story disturbing.

VIENNA, Mo. (CIRCA via KRCG)— Court documents released Wednesday indicated the teenage girl who died in a house fire had been enclosed in her bed and unable to get out.

Tracy Ellis, 42, was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree endangering the welfare of a child resulting in the death of her daughter, 14-year-old Ashlyn Ellis.

First responders said when they arrived at a house fire Sunday morning outside of Vichy, Missouri, they were informed the girl was still inside the residence. When they eventually forced their way into the home off Maries County Road 438, they found a closed and latched gate with wood boards affixed to the bed. A Maries County detective noted the wooden gate was installed with a spring-loaded hasp, making it only accessible from the outside of the bed, court documents stated.

The probable cause document stated this would have prevented the teenage girl from getting out.

Law enforcement officials learned Tracy Ellis had left for work that day, and knowingly left her unattended for hours, according to court documents. Ellis' son had gone fishing before she left work and told a deputy if his mother would have told him she was leaving, he would have come home.

Tracy Ellis later told investigators Ashlyn's condition was such that the girl could not speak or walk. She told law enforcement her daughter was required to be fed puréed food and could not feed herself.

The investigation revealed Ashlyn's diaper had excessive amounts of urine and feces and that during the autopsy, her trachea contained soot from the fire, the documents stated. The cause of the fire remained under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Tracy Ellis was arrested Tuesday evening and will be arraigned Thursday at 9 a.m. in Maries County Circuit Court. A bond has not yet been set.

The visitation for Ashlyn Ellis has been scheduled for Thursday evening, and funeral services will be held Friday at 11 a.m. in Rolla.

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