Updated:KANNAPOLIS, N.C. —
A Kannapolis woman and her boyfriend made their first court appearance Wednesday on charges they beat and killed her niece.
Alisha Carlisle and her boyfriend, John Turner, face charges of first degree murder, felony child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.
Carlisle and Turner could face the death penalty if convicted.
Carlisle is 15-month-old Malaya Heun's aunt.
The baby died in January after police said she was severely beaten.
Doctors said she had broken ribs, bruising on her head and body, and internal injuries that eventually led to her death.
The Kannapolis police chief called Malaya's death one of the worst cases of child abuse he's seen in 30 years.
Investigators looked into this case for six months before they were finally able to make an arrest.
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