Mother of deceased 2-year-old Tahlequah boy charged with first-degree murder

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The mother of a 2-year-old child Tahlequah boy found dead last month was formally charged with first-degree murder Tuesday. 

Tahlequah police say Dakota Sanders was already dead by the time they were called to the Stepping Stone Rooming House, where he, his mother Jeri Sanders and her common law husband Buford Ellison lived. 

Police Chief Nate King said at the time the child was likely strangled or suffocated. The Medical Examiner's Office has yet to determine the cause of death.

Sanders and Ellison were taken into custody and held without bond, but shortly after Ellison died in custody. Both Ellison and Sanders had battled cancer, according to a former employer of Sanders.

Sanders next court appearance has not been set.

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