Preliminary hearing adjourned while Audrionna Rhoades undergoes competency exam

James Nelson died Sept. 3 after being left in van for more than 9 hours

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A woman who is accused of leaving her 2-year-old son to die buckled inside a sweltering minivan faced her preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

A teary-eyed Audrionna Rhoades was back in court. Rhoades, 21, of Shelby Township is charged with child abuse and second-degree murder.

The hearing was adjourned while Rhoades undergoes a mental evaluation and competency exam.

In court she said little but the look on her face said what she didn't. Her family says she been very distraught since the death of her son. Rhoades is now on suicide watch in jail and for that reason her attorney asked for a forensic exam and the judge accepted the request.

Rhoades's lawyer asked for her $500,000 bond to be reduced. The judge referred that request to the Department of Corrections.

Prosecutors say that Rhoades left her son, James Nelson, buckled to the seat in the van the morning of Sept. 3, then drove another vehicle to work. More than nine hours later, a roommate noticed James through the window of the van. He was rushed to a hospital, but died from heat stroke.

Rhoades's family says there's more to the story. As the case moves forward this family knows nothing that will happen here in court that will bring this little boy back.

Watch: Shelby Township mother's arraigned on murder charge.

More: Grandma defends mother of toddler who died in hot car

Rhoades has pleaded not-guilty. She's scheduled to be back in court in 60 days.

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