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Couple charged in death of toddler

Crystal Garland’s neighbors describe her as a wonderful mother. But prosecutors say she’s accused of killing her own child.

“She doesn’t deserve this. I think if they’re going to point figures, the need to investigate fully,” said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.

An indictment states that Garland caused the death of her son Troy McClendon, 2. Garland’s then boyfriend, Jeremy Strunk faces the same charges. They’re also accused of assaulting Garland’s other son, who was 8 months at the time. Carol Griffen doesn’t buy the charges against her grandaughter..but that’s not the cause over allegations against Strunk.

“They claim he had some injuries..not sure what they were, but I do know the boy, Jeremy dropped him once,” Griffin said.

Prosecutors are not talking about exactly how Troy McClendon died. The indictment only states that Garland and Strunk allegedy engaged in conduct that caused his death.

But Garland’s grandmother says Troy McClendon was injured in this trailer shortly before he died, but she says that was from him falling off a bed.

“He had a knot, and she took him to the hospital,” Griffin said.

Relatives say he died several days later, and now 15 and a half months later, his mother and Strunk are accused of killing him.

“There’s never been a problem of her with children. And she loved children. We intend to fight this,” said Griffin.

Both remain in jail in Knox County on a $250,000 cash bond.


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