On Oct. 7, 2017, Bell called 911 to report the baby was missing from the family’s mobile home, launching a frantic search in the community. That evening, McNabb pleaded publicly for Caliyah’s return in front of television cameras.
The next day, Caliyah’s body was found the next day in nearby woods, a short walk from the trailer. An autopsy determined she died from blunt force trauma to the head.
McNabb was charged with Caliyah’s murder days later. In January 2018, a grand jury indicted him on eight counts, including malice murder, felony murder, second-degree murder, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another. The grand jury indicted Bell on second-degree murder, child cruelty and child deprivation charges.
The baby’s death shocked neighbors and others in the community. More than 5,000 people joined two Facebook groups dedicated to seeking justice for Caliyah.
“It doesn't matter what county that case may or may not be moved to,” one person posted. “Justice will be served for that beautiful angel.”
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