A newborn girl found dead in the woods died from blunt force trauma to the head, Newton County Coroner Tommy Davis said late Tuesday afternoon. The manner of death is homicide, Davis said.
But who killed little Caliyah McNabb? No charges had been filed in the case Tuesday evening, though her father remained in jail on an unrelated charge. Authorities have labeled him a person of interest in the case.
Earlier Tuesday, authorities released a recording of the 911 call where Caliyah’s mother first reported the tiny baby missing.
In the call, Cortney Bell said she hadn’t intended to fall asleep on the couch but she was up much of the night with her 2-week-old baby.
After feeding little Caliyah at 5 a.m., Bell fell asleep, she told a Newton County 911 operator Saturday morning. She was startled hours later when her 2-year-old daughter woke her up, telling her the baby was gone.
"My 2-week-old is not in her sleeper. She's not here,” Bell told the operator. “I've looked everywhere. I’ve looked under clothes and everything.”
The baby’s blanket was also gone, but her pacifier was on the floor and her bottle in the bathroom, Bell said during the call. She had already checked with her parents and grandparents, and no one had Caliyah. During the 911 call, Bell called out “Caliyah.”
About three minutes into the call, the 911 operator asks about the baby’s father. Bell said he had also been asleep.
"Dad was here,” Bell said. “Dad just left. He's walking around the park and looking for her.”
The search continued for the newborn until dark Saturday and resumed Sunday, when her body was found nearby in the woods. Caliyah’s father, Christopher McNabb, and Bell were on the way to the Newton Sheriff’s Office when McNabb jumped out of the vehicle and ran, according to investigators.
A convenience store clerk later recognized McNabb and called 911. He was arrested Sunday evening for violating probation in Bartow County, according to police. McNabb remained Tuesday in the Newton jail, where he was being held without bond.
The GBI conducted an autopsy Monday on Caliyah. Investigators were also reviewing the baby’s medical records from her birth and a pediatrician visit, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Newton County is about 35 miles east of Atlanta.