‘She had the biggest heart’: Jelli Young remembered by stepmom on fifth birthday

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Nearly three months since the remains of Migellic “Jelli” Young were found buried, questions still remain.

Jelli’s biological mother, Malikah Bennett, is facing multiple charges including first-degree murder.

Wednesday, Jelli would have been five years old.

“That baby was so full of life...light. She had the biggest heart,” her stepmom Antoinette Austin said.

It also marked one year since Austin last saw her stepdaughter -- at Jelli’s birthday party. She says Jelli wanted to leave with Bennett.

“That night, she was not supposed to go nowhere, but her dad said she could go ahead and go. That was the last time I seen Jelli, Aug. 11, 2020,” Austin said.

Second arrest made after remains of 4-year-old found buried in north Charlotte yard

Days would go by with no sight of Jelli.

Austin says they looked, but Bennett fed them lies.

“Her dad would call and she would say, ‘Oh, she’s with her grandma, with a cousin.’ It was always she’s with someone else. ‘O, I’m not at home right now, when I get there I’ll tell her to call you.’ That’s how it was for eight months. I’m like something ain’t right, y’all don’t see pictures, she ain’t sent any pictures, post any pictures, nothing. It was just like because that was the mama it was suppose to be okay,” Austin said.

Jelli was found in May, buried in the backyard of Bennett’s home.

“You wouldn’t wish this on your worst enemy, the feeling I have right now. Like not been able to hug your kids, not being able to kiss them.”

Wednesday night, balloons were released. An urn also sits inside Austin’s home.

As she mourns the loss of Jelli, she’s also mourning her 18-year-old son, Damontae “TaeTae” Austin, who was murdered in Charlotte last month.

“I can’t get out the bed. I cry..those are the hardest days. I lay in the bed most of the days,” Austin said.

His funeral was just last week.

“Y’all took two biggest parts of me. Y’all took the kids with the biggest hearts, I don’t understand. Them kids loved everybody and they need to know about my kids. It’s not fair how they were done. It’s not fair how Jelli was done, it’s not fair how my son was done. They need to know. The world needs to know about them,” she said.

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