Newton County father indicted in death of 2-week-old daughter

A Newton County father intended to kill his 2-week-old daughter when he beat her in the head, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed late Friday.

Christopher Michael McNabb, 27, then allegedly hid baby Caliyah's body in the woods near the family's mobile home on Oct. 7.

The grand jury indicted McNabb on eight charges, including malice murder, felony murder, second-degree murder, aggravated battery, cruelty to children and concealing the death of another.

McNabb is accused of "maliciously causing said Caliyah McNabb cruel and excessive physical pain by inflicting blunt force trauma upon said child to her head," the indictment states.

On the morning of Oct. 7, Caliyah’s mother, Cortney Bell, called 911 to report the baby missing, telling the operator she had fed the baby at 5 a.m. before falling asleep on the couch. When she woke up, her 2-year-old daughter told her the baby was missing, Bell said.

“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.”

Bell said Caliyah’s father had also been asleep and was outside searching for the newborn. That night, McNabb stood in front of television cameras and pleaded for his daughter’s return.

On Oct. 8, searchers found Caliyah's body in the woods near her home. McNabb was arrested later that day and remained Friday in the Newton jail, where he was being held without bond.

Caliyah’s death made national headlines, along with a photo of her in a sleeper with pastel owls, her tiny eyelids closed. The same photo was placed on a large wooden cross, along with letters and stuffed animals, in a roadside memorial not far from where the baby’s body was found.