Boy, 3, Found Frozen To Death On Porch Had Clawed At Door Trying To Get Into The House, Mother Sentenced

Roz Zurko - Author

Dec. 15 2017, Updated 9:58 a.m. ET

Landyn Melton was only three years old when his frozen body was found on the porch of his home in Morganton, North Carolina. The toddler died from the cold, but it appears he didn’t leave this world without a fight. “Claw marks” on the front door near where his body was found indicate he tried to get back into the house where it was warm, according to the reports. Inside the house is also where his mother was allegedly “passed out” after doing drugs, according to The New York Post.

The boy was found dead back in March, but his mother has “dodged” jail time this week after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, reports the New York Post. Landyn was discovered when a neighbor saw his lifeless body on the front porch of his home as they walked past the house.

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It is believed the toddler got outside the house while his mother was sleeping. Once the toddler got outside the door slammed behind him, which left him no way to get back into the house on his own accord at such a young age. Landyn was found dead the day after his third birthday.

Jamie Lynn Basinger, 24, was arrested and spent eight months behind bars in connection with the death of her son. She appeared in court this week, where Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lippert stated to Judge Nathanial Poovey: “While she (Basinger) was passed out inside the home, by her own admission sleeping harder than normal, Landyn was freezing to death.

According to The Sun, prosecutors maintained that it was the mother’s drug use that led to the death of this boy. Both Basinger and her boyfriend, Joshua Steffey, admitted they had been smoking meth two days before the boy died and that they had smoked pot the night before the child was found dead.

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According to The Sun, smudged little fingerprints on the front storm door’s glass indicated the boy desperately tried to get back into the house. The temperature that night was about 21 degrees Fahrenheit, without considering the wind chill factor. Police officers went out to the house when they were called by the neighbor who saw the child laying lifeless on the front porch.

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The Morganton News Herald reports, when one of the officers arrived at the home, he “knocked on the door so hard he was surprised he did not break the glass on the storm door.” He did this while attempting to get someone in the house to open the door. It was Steffey who answered the door, and then he went back inside the house to get Basinger.

While Landyn was found with blood on his face, the coroner found no signs of trauma. Basinger’s lawyer Frank Webster talked to reporters about his client Basinger. He said: “Overwhelmingly, as you would expect, the community is calling for her blood.” He also suggested that if drugs had not been involved in this case, he believes the boy’s death would have been ruled an accident, according to the Morganton News Herald.

Basinger was given credit for the time she has served, and the judge ordered her to “comply with all conditions of a substance abuse assessment, perform 72 hours of community service and adhere to all orders from the Department of Social Services regarding her other child,” reports the New York Post.

She also “received a suspended sentence of 19 to 32 months with three years of supervised probation after pleading guilty in connection to the death of Landyn Melton.”


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