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Mother arrested on charges of killing baby boy in Chatham County

Josalyn Upchurch made her first appearance in Chatham County Superior Court in Pittsboro, North Carolina, after being charged in the July 2017 death of her 1-year-old De’Andre Emmanuel Cotton.
Josalyn Upchurch made her first appearance in Chatham County Superior Court in Pittsboro, North Carolina, after being charged in the July 2017 death of her 1-year-old De’Andre Emmanuel Cotton.

A Chatham County woman accused of killing her baby boy made her first appearance in court Thursday, soon after a man also charged in the death made his.

Josalyn Upchurch, 28, of Moncure and Rickey Devon Adams, 39, of Durham are both charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse in the 2017 death of 14-month old De’Andre Emmanuel Cotton.

Police described them as girlfriend and boyfriend at the time.

They were led separately into the Chatham County courtroom in orange and white striped jail jumpsuits and said nothing as a judge assigned Adams a court-appointed defense lawyer, while Upchurch was represented by Sanford attorney Cameron Frick.

The baby’s father, Darius Cotton, also was in the courtroom with his family but declined to speak with a reporter.

Adams, who was arrested in the case Wednesday, was already being held in the Durham County jail on unrelated charges of failing to pay child support and failure to appear since Aug. 20. Members of his family were also in the courtroom. His next date in court is Jan. 7.

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Rickey Adams made his first appearance in Chatham County Superior Court in Pittsboro, North Carolina, after being charged in the death of 1-year-old De’Andre Emmanuel Cotton in July 2017. Joe Johnson jjohnson@heraldsun.com

Upchurch, who surrendered to authorities Wednesday and was in the Chatham County jail, made her court appearance a short time later.

No life signs

Police were called to an apartment on Broadmoor Drive in Pittsboro July 16, 2017, after a 911 call. They found the baby died, according to a police news release.

The report said Upchurch found her son cold and unresponsive in his bed around 2 p.m. When emergency workers arrived, they noted the baby had no vital signs and was cold. They did not perform life-saving measures, the report said.

The baby had bruises on his head and face, the report said. It also said multiple contusions were present on the torso with broken ribs and a large cut to his liver that caused internal bleeding. The medical examiner determined Cotton died from blunt force trauma of the chest and abdomen.

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