Summerville parents arrested in death of 13-year-old son

A family photo of Joshua Jacob Mendoza taken in the summer of 2011.

Brad Nettles

The parents of a 13-year-old Summerville boy were arrested Sunday night after the coroner determined the boy died of malnutrition and neglect.

Police were called to 1925 Bacons Bridge Road Feb. 10, according to Summerville Police Capt. Jon Rogers. The boy, whom officials have have identified as Joshua Jacob Mendoza, was dead.

An autopsy showed that he died of malnourishment and neglect, Rogers said.

Kimberly Marie Love, 31, the boy's mother, and Jason Monroe Buckley, 29, his stepfather, face murder charges. An official at the Dorchester County Detention Center confirmed this morning that the two were booked into the jail Sunday night.

The boy's grandmother, Kathleen Nicholson, said Love and Buckley were good parents who provided the boy with everything he needed in spite of a genetic disease. Nicholson said that his severe case of tuberous sclerosis caused nourishment problems and prevented him from speaking. He used a wheelchair.

"He couldn't walk. He couldn't talk his whole life," she said. "I wanted him to live longer, but I'm happy he lived that long."

Nicholson said Love and Buckley turned themselves in about 6:30 p.m. Sunday but were labeled as fugitives until the police confirmed their arrests this morning.

She said the arrests, which were based on the results of an autopsy, were adding to the family's grief.

"They were great parents," she said. "Now they're being called murderers."

Love ran her son's funeral notice on her Facebook page Feb. 13. The notice was from Parks Funeral Home.

Joshua had two brothers and a sister, according to the funeral notice.

The day after Joshua died, Love posted a note that said: "Mama loves you joshua jacob and i dont know what to do without you. i can hear you still and my heart hurts so bad."

The death notice ran in The Post and Courier Feb. 13 and the full obituary from the funeral home in the Summerville Journal Scene Feb. 14.

Love's last post was Feb. 15: "Me an jay would like to thank all our family and friends that came to joshuas service. We love yall."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Summerville Police Department at 875-1650 or Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.