MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. -- The Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office has completed the autopsy of the late Kilah Davenport.
The official cause of death on the autopsy report states Kilah died of pneumonia due to complications of blunt force head injuries due to assault, with diabetes listed as an other significant condition.
Kilah's stepfather, Joshua Houser, was found guilty in February of child abuse and sentenced to serve at least 7.5 years, and up to just over 10 years in prison.
Evidence presented in Houser's trial showed he assaulted the then-3-year-old in a "fit of rage", shoving her head through a wall in his Indian Trail home. Kilah suffered a broken collarbone, fractured skull, a brain injury and multiple bruises across her body in the assault.
Initially, Kilah's mother was told Kilah would live in a vegetative state, but she had since made progress, before passing in March of this year.
The autopsy states Kilah was in the fifth-percentile for her age in height and weight, weighing only 23 pounds and having an official length of 36-inches. An external examination by the Medical Examiner's Office revealed "an emaciated female child".
The autopsy concludes that Kilah suffered a traumatic brain injury in May of 2012, and as a result of those injuries, she was severely debilitated with developmental delay and quadriplegia. The autopsy also revealed remote blunt force head injury with associated failure to thrive, extremity contractures and pneumonia.
The Medical Examiner's Office concluded the cause of death is pneumonia due to complications of remote blunt force head injuries due to an assault, with diabetes being a contributing factor. Further, Dysphagia, an altered mental status, and debilitation are "well known risk factors for the development of pneumonia.
The Union County District Attorney says no decision to further charges against Houser has been or will be made until the DA's Office has the opportunity to fully review the autopsy findings, consult with the Medical Examiner's Office and confer with law enforcement.
Kilah's family lobbied for legislation for tougher penalties for child abusers in North Carolina, which adopted the name "Kilah's Law". The law was signed into the books in North Carolina and went into affect on December 1, 2013. Kilah's Law increased the punishment for child abuse in North Carolina to 25-years to life.
Houser's sentencing, however, did not fall under the new sentencing guidelines, as the incident occurred before the implementation of the law. Houser was sentenced to the then-maximum term.
Congressman Robert Pittenger introduced a bill to the U.S. House that same month, which passed unanimously. The national "Kilah Davenport Act", will also impose tougher penalties for child abusers nationwide.