Adoptive mother accused of fatally starving, neglecting 2 missing children and burning their remains

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun28,2024

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (TCN) — A 63-year-old woman faces multiple charges after allegedly fatally starving and neglecting two of her adopted children before dismembering and burning their remains.

In a June 26 press conference held by the Fayetteville Police Department, Senior Sgt. Mickey Locklear said in November 2023, officers responded to Avantae Deven’s home to a report of a mental health crisis. While there, the victim experiencing the crisis told officers he had not seen his brother, Blake Deven, in five years. The victim reportedly said his brother had a broken arm the last time he saw him but was now dead.

According to Locklear, investigators learned Avantae Deven had adopted five children, including three boys who were all related to each other, as well as two unrelated girls. Police said at least three of the children experienced “appalling” conditions in the home.

The adoptive mother allegedly kept the children in small rooms, sometimes in complete darkness. Avantae Deven reportedly gave the kids little to no food, and they could “earn nourishment by doing paperwork,” which entailed writing hundreds of paragraphs apologizing for their misbehavior.

According to police, Avantae Deven only reported Blake Deven missing after the investigation began. Officers allege Avantae Deven mentally abused and starved Blake Deven to death and had another individual in the house help her dismember and burn his remains.

As they continued their investigation, police learned another adopted child disappeared from the Deven home, 27-year-old London Deven. According to Locklear, London Deven, who was last seen in 2019, had special needs and required extensive care. Police allege London Deven also experienced fatal starvation and neglect.

Locklear said investigators found a metal burn barrel containing partial human remains of two different people, and they sent them to a private lab for identification. Officials reportedly determined one set belonged to London Deven. Investigators have not yet positively identified the second set of human remains, but Locklear said they believe the victim to be Blake Deven.

On June 26, police announced Avantae Deven’s arrest on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of concealment of death, one count of kidnapping, and two counts of felony child abuse. She remains held in the Cumberland County Detention Center without bond.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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