Mother, boyfriend appear in court to answer for death of 1-year-old DeAndre Cotton

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- A mother has been arrested and accused in the death of her 1-year-old son.

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On July 16, 2017, DeAndre Cotton was put to bed by his mother at their apartment in Pittsboro. The following afternoon, Cotton was dead.

Josalyn Upchurch, 28, and her boyfriend Rickey Adams, 39, face criminal charges including first-degree murder and child abuse.

Adams appeared in court around 11:15 a.m. Thursday. His family was in court as he asked for a court-appointed attorney.

Upchurch also appeared in court Thursday. She told ABC11 that she wants to hire her own attorney.

DeAndre's father, Darius, told ABC11 he simply couldn't understand how this happened.

"It's horrible, man. I don't get it. I just don't get it," Darius Cotton said. "I don't see how someone, especially a mother could allow this to happen -- more or less be involved."

Thursday, Darius Cotton was in the courtroom waiting to see what happened.

"We haven't rested since this happened," Cotton said. "That was just evil. I don't feel like that was planned for DeAndre's life."

Melissia Cotton, the child's stepmother also spoke.

"I feel like the one time that he needed me, I wasn't there," she said. "Imagine in our mind thinking, what did he go through? How long did he go through it?

"They could have dropped him off any time -- day, night, morning, ice, snow," she added. "The door was never closed to De'Andre being here."

Darius Cotton said he was grateful for the time he did have to spend with his son and added: "Justice has begun."

The two defendants will return to court Jan. 7.
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