Ria Ramkissoon, the mother of Javon Thompson, was charged Sunday with first-degree murder in the boy's death, and
Members did not seek medical care for Javon when he stopped breathing, and the boy died in his mother's arms, according to court documents that described police interviews with a confidential informant and two children. He would have been about 19 months old when police say adults stopped feeding him in December 2006.
Ramkissoon, 21, was being held Monday in the psychiatric ward of
The three other people charged in Javon's death -- Queen Antoinette, 40, also known as Toni Ellsberry or Toni Sloan; Marcus Cobbs, 21; and Trevia Williams, who turns 21 Tuesday -- were already in custody. They were arrested in May in
No one answered the phone Monday afternoon in the office of a public defender assigned to Antoinette, Cobbs and Williams.
A fifth alleged cult member, Steven Bynum, has been charged in a warrant with first-degree murder and remains at large, police said Monday. He was believed to be in
Ramkissoon's family said she should not be held responsible for her son's death.
"She had no control over that situation at all," her stepfather, Craig Newton, said Monday.
Ramkissoon's mother, Seeta Khadan-Newton, told The (
"My daughter was a victim, just like my grandson," Khadan-Newton said. "Somebody made that decision to not feed that child, and my daughter had to follow instructions."
Members of 1 Mind Ministries wore all white, swore off medical care and referred to some members with titles including queen and princess, according to court documents. The group was also accused of insisting that a pregnant woman give birth without access to doctors.
Ramkissoon joined 1 Mind Ministries after Javon was born. Ramkissoon's mother last saw her in April 2006; she later sued for custody of her grandson, writing in a letter to a judge that "the cult leaders" were preventing her from contacting her daughter.
The documents show police interviewed two school-age children who had been part of the group but were taken away from members by
Another unnamed informant told police that after Javon died, Antoinette left the boy's body in a room for more than a week, claiming "God was going to raise Javon from the dead," the documents show.
Afterward, Antoinette burned the boy's clothing and a mattress and placed his body in a green suitcase, which she would periodically open and spray with disinfectant to mask the odor, police said in the court documents.
In early 2007, the group members left Baltimore for
Police recovered the suitcase in April after they got a tip from the confidential informant. The remains of a small child were inside. DNA tests are pending to confirm the boy's identity.