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story.lead_photo.caption Tracy M. Ellis

The mother of a teenage girl who died in a weekend house fire in Maries County has been charged with causing conditions that led to her daughter's death.

Tracy M. Ellis, 43, of St. James, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child.

Authorities identified the victim as 14-year-old Ashlyn Ellis.

The fire broke out Sunday at the Ellis' mobile home near Vichy. Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman said Ashlyn's 16-year-old brother had called authorities for help and said his sister, who had a disability that left her unable to walk or talk, was trapped inside.

Firefighters were unable to save the girl.

Inside the home, firefighters allegedly found Ashlyn's remains inside a closed and locked cage attached to her bed, according to a Maries County Sheriff's Department probable cause statement. The front gate was made up of wooden boards and was only accessible from outside the bed, preventing Ashlyn from getting out.

Authorities interviewed Tracy Ellis, who had left the home, leaving Ashlyn unattended for several hours. Ellis said she had gone to work while her son was out fishing. The son told authorities he did not know his mother had left the home.

An autopsy found Ashlyn had soot from the fire in her trachea.

The statement did not specify what caused the fire.

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