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Boy to live with friend of dead mother

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JACKSON, Miss. — The boy who lived with his mother's corpse for a month is now staying with the woman who discovered the macabre scene.

Deputies removed 10-year-old Travis Butler from his grandparents' custody Friday and placed him with Dorothy Jeffries, a family friend who found the boy with his mother in a Memphis, Tenn., apartment in December.

Travis' maternal grandparents, Shirley and H.P. Wilder, had been caring for him at their home in rural Carthage. But after a custody hearing last week with Chancery Judge Bill Lutz, Travis was moved to Jeffries' Olive Branch home.

"I raised the boy most his life," said H.P. Wilder, Travis' step-grandfather. "I couldn't understand why they want to give him to this strange person."

Last fall, Travis lived for 33 days with his dead mother, too afraid to tell anyone because he feared being placed in foster care. His mother, Crystal Wells, died Nov. 3 from a lung tumor.

Travis went to school every day from the time his mother died until her body was discovered by Jeffries.

Afterward, Travis' maternal grandmother, Shirley Wilder, assumed custody.

H.P. Wilder said deputies picked up Travis and drove him to Jeffries' home.

"He didn't want to go," Wilder said.