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Records: Surveillance video showed Indiana mother beating son, spurred new charges in Judah Morgan's death

The father of Judah Morgan, 4, previously pleaded guilty to murdering his son in Oct. 2021. Court records claim his wife kicked and beat another child in the home.

LA PORTE, Ind. — The biological mother of a 4-year-old found dead in a northern Indiana home in 2021 now faces two additional charges in connection with his death. 

Mary Yoder already faced four charges, which included neglect of a dependent resulting in death, neglect of a dependent with cruel confinement, misdemeanor cruelty to an animal and misdemeanor failure to report. 

She now faces two additional charges of neglect, and one count of domestic battery to a person less than 14 years old. 

Surveillance footage from inside the home captured the afternoon of October 6, 2021 showed Yoder, 27, grabbing one of her sons by the arm and throwing him onto the floor court records show. 

Once the child was on the floor, Yoder was seen kicking him and grabbing his arm once again. She was then seen yanking him toward the side of the couch, at which point the child fell back onto the floor. 

Yoder was seen kicking him several more times before the child got up, and ran crying to his bedroom at the end of the hall, according to court records. 

Credit: LaPorte County Sheriff's Office
Mary E. Yoder, 26, faces two counts of felony neglect of a dependent, misdemeanor cruelty to an animal and misdemeanor failure to report.

Judah was not the child involved in that incident, but more video taken the following day showed Yoder and Alan Morgan, Judah's biological father, leaving the home with all their children, except Judah. 

Court records show one of the children told investigators Morgan and Yoder frequently kept Judah in the basement, alone and in the dark, as punishment. 

When they returned back home nearly two hours later, video showed Judah walking naked from the basement area through the living room, and into the bathroom. Yoder and Morgan were seen following him. 

Weeks after those incidents, Judah would be found beaten to death on the floor of the home. 

Credit: Jenna Hullett
Judah Morgan, 4, was found dead on a bedroom floor of a LaPorte County home on October 11, 2021. His biological parents, Alan Morgan and Mary Yoder, face charges in connection with his death.

Morgan pleaded guilty to murder in the death of his 4-year-old son in November. 

As part of his plea agreement, Morgan admitted he committed murder and battery. 

In exchange, the prosecutor agreed to take a sentence of life without parole off the table as a possible sentence. The prosecutor also dropped charges of neglect of a dependent and animal cruelty.

LaPorte County deputies first went to Morgan's home in rural Union Township at 2:45 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 11, following reports of an unconscious child in the home. 

When deputies couldn't get in touch with anyone inside the home, they decided to enter it. Soon after, the deputies found 4-year-old Judah Morgan dead on the floor.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by 13News for the additional charges against Yoder also show new details of the horror Judah endured before he died. 

They are sobering conditions Judah's longtime foster mother, Jenna Hullett, suspected he faced inside the home for years, and which she claims DCS was aware of and did not stop. 

House of horrors 

Court documents show Morgan and Yoder had a kitchen fridge with a cord attached to a key-style lock, "so no one could open it," detectives said in an affidavit. 

Credit: LaPorte Co. Sheriff's Office
Alan D. Morgan, 28, of LaPorte, was charged with felony first-degree murder, five counts of felony neglect of a dependent and misdemeanor cruelty to an animal.

Filth, garbage and animal feces were found throughout the home. Investigators also discovered a starving dog in a cage. 

More disturbing, though, was what police reportedly found in the basement.  

RELATED: Foster family of 4-year-old killed after reunion with birth parents demand answers

It was cold, with no working lights. Torn-off bits of silver and camouflage duct tape were strewn about the cold room, and several pieces were taped to a wall. 

In one corner, police found a small pair of training pants and an infant-style toilet. 

Human waste rotted inside, not far from where a lone fluffy blanket was found, with small pieces of the same silver duct tape that was on the walls, attached.

In one corner, police found a small pair of training pants and an infant-style toilet. 

Yoder told investigators that if Judah refused to go to the basement, Morgan would grab him by the neck and force him down there. 

One of Yoder and Morgan's other children told detectives Morgan would hit Judah with his hands, and bound him at his ankles and hands. The child also saw Judah being bound with his arms tied behind his back. 

Despite Yoder's claims to detectives that she never bound or beat Judah herself, another child told investigators they saw his mother and father force Judah into the basement. The child also heard sounds of physical abuse and shouting while Judah was in the basement. 

Records also show Yoder reached out to Morgan's brother around 2:23 a.m. the morning of October 11, 2021, saying Morgan needed his help due to a serious emergency. Those messages were sent 22 minutes before the first 911 calls were made to the home, and 30 minutes before Yoder herself called 911. 

In the aftermath of Judah's death, Hullett, Judah's foster mother, claimed DCS failed to pursue several of her attempts to notify them he suffered abuse in the home. 

She tjem pushed Indiana lawmakers to push legislation that could help prevent the deaths of more children like Judah. 

The result of those efforts was two new pieces of legislation. 

Senate Bill 410 is officially called Judah's Law and was authored by Sen. Mike Bohacek, Sen. Ron Alting, and Sen. Andy Zay. It centers around how unlicensed caregivers like Hullett would be allowed to intervene in juvenile court proceedings.

RELATED: Northern Indiana man pleads guilty to murder in 4-year-old son's beating death

Under the law, unlicensed caregivers may intervene as a party in court in the case of children needing CHINS services, and to proceed to terminate the parent-child relationship.

Meanwhile, House Bill 1247, authored by Rep. Ryan Laurer, would require DCS to include if a deceased child had a prior history with DCS, and the location and status of the child at the time of death. The agency would also have to indicate whether a child had an open case with DCS at the time of their death. 

Alan Morgan will be sentenced on Nov. 29. Yoder will face a trial by jury in January. 

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