Exclusive: Grandmother mourns death of 11-year-old grandson in Star City

Local News

'It was horrifying'

STAR CITY, Ark.- For the first time since her daughter was arrested for the murder of her grandson, a grieving grandmother is speaking out.

“It was horrifying,” Jodee Garcia says.

Jodee Garcia (left) speaks about the case in which her daughter, Mary Black and David Black (center) have been arrested for the murder of her 11-year-old grandson, Joseph (right).

Jodee Garcia recalls the moments she says her daughter, Mary Black, called from Star City on Father’s Day to tell her something was wrong with 11-year-old Joseph Carsello.

“She called me whenever they were, I guess, tending to him,” Garcia says. “She told me that ‘Well, he’s gone. He’s gone.’ I said ‘What do you mean he’s gone?’…When she said that I lost it.”

Mary and David Black were arrested after authorities say the couple beat the boy, on and off for two days, leading to his death. The Blacks faced a judge together last week and stood shackled, side-by-side as they were both charged with capital murder.

Garcia declined to comment on the case but says it appeared to her that David was an instigator in the relationship and with the family. It loosely echoes what her daughter told us while leaving the court as Mary stated “David beat him,” when asked how Joseph died.

“They’re lack of attention to the kids was a big issue,” Mike Mathews says.

Mathews says he’s a relative of Mary’s. He says the Black family stayed with him on and off over the past nine months, but he had to kick them out twice.

“You know and that was the reason that I had to ask them to leave the first time because it was becoming a serious conflict between me and David on how the kids were being treated,” Mathews says.

Mathews says he informed police of his concerns.

We have submitted a Freedom of Information Act and requested police reports from the Star City Police Department regarding the Blacks and their listed address but have not yet received any.

Meanwhile, Garcia scrolls through old photos, remembering the boy who she says was always smiling.

“He was a jokester. He liked to trick you. He liked to compete with you,” Garcia recalls.

It’s photos full of smiles that get her through a waiting period for justice.

“His beautiful smile and his personality is unforgettable,” Garcia says. “Unforgettable.”

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