Columbia County Magistrate Judge Jason Troiano determined at a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning that there is enough evidence against Marina Mae Middlebrooks, 29, to proceed with prosecution in Superior Court.
Middlebrooks is charged with murder and cruelty to children in the May 2 death of her daughter, Sky Lyric Allen, 2.
Middlebrooks drifted off of Ray Owens Road in front of North Columbia Elementary School in Appling at about 4:20 p.m. Her Honda CRV hit a tree. Emergency medical personnel discovered Sky’s body while trying to help Middlebrooks.
“As (an emergency medical technician) was tending to Middlebrooks and they were attempting to get her out of the vehicle, (the EMT) observed a small hand sticking out from under some clothes under Ms. Middlebrooks’ legs on the driver’s side floorboard,” Columbia County sheriff’s Investigator James Edmunds said at the hearing.
Sky, who died from stab wound to the throat, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.
“A pair of scissors were found covered in blood on the passenger seat,” Edmunds said.
Middlebrooks, who sustained several self-inflicted cuts and stab wounds, was airlifted to a hospital. Sheriff’s office investigators interviewed her at the hospital. She was arrested May 6 after a second interview and her release from the hospital.
Middlebrooks’ attorney, Richard E. Allen, said that she’d been previously diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and attempted suicide earlier the same day.
Edmunds said Middlebrooks’ demeanor would change quickly during the second interview, but that “When I spoke to her, she appeared to be rational.”
Middlebrooks told investigators that she took Sky and her 4-year-old son to a motel in Columbia County on May 1, but returned to her Norton Boulevard home because the children didn’t want to stay in a motel. The children’s father said he slept on the sofa that night and Middlebrooks was gone when Sky woke him the next morning.
When she returned, the children’s father said Middlebrooks had a bandage on her wrist and was “acting real strange.”
Middlebrooks told investigators that she went back to the motel and cut her wrists there. She “snapped out of it,” wrapped a towel around her wrist and went home.
“She stated she doesn’t remember anything else,” Edmunds said.
Middlebrooks left her son at home alone. The boy told investigators that when Middlebrooks left with her daughter that “Sky was naked and Mommy was mad.”
Sky’s body was naked at the time of the wreck and Middlebrooks was nude from the waist down.
Edmunds said there was no evidence to suggest Middlebrooks was raped or otherwise assaulted. Tests on blood found inside the vehicle are pending at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta.