The parents accused of killing their 2-week-old baby and then reporting her missing will stand trial in May, according to the Newton County District Attorney.
Christopher Michael McNabb and Cortney Marie Bell allegedly smoked meth together the night before reporting their newborn, Caliyah, missing in October 2017. On Oct. 7, Bell called 911 to report the baby missing, launching a frantic search. McNabb pleaded for his daughter’s return during television news.
But little Caliyah was already dead, according to investigators. The following day, her tiny body was found in the woods near the mobile home where the couple lived with their 2-year-old daughter and newborn. Caliyah had been wrapped in clothing and placed in a bag belonging to her father, according to investigators.
A shocked community created a touching memorial to the baby with teddy bears, balloons and flowers. Meanwhile, an autopsy determined Caliyah died from blunt force trauma to the head.
McNabb was charged with Caliyah’s murder in the days after her death. In January 2018, Bell was also indicted in January on second-degree murder, child cruelty and child deprivation charges, the first time she was criminally accused of being involved in Caliyah’s death.
The couple’s trial was initially scheduled for last August, but DA Layla Zon requested it be delayed due to new evidence in the case.
The source of this information is from two jailed inmates in Jasper County,” Zon wrote in a motion filed in August. “The information provided led to an investigative act of potential evidence being collected…That evidence is being sent to the crime lab for testing.”
The trial is now scheduled for May 6.
McNabb, who previously served three times in state prison, was on parole at the time of Caliyah’s death. But he failed several times to report to his parole officer, according to the Bartow County court clerk’s office, and in December was returned to prison. McNabb pleaded guilty to a variety of charges from a 2007 case, including burglary, theft and criminal damage.
McNabb will be returned to Newton for his trial. Another state prisoner, Mathew Shane Lester, will be called as a witness during the trial, according to court documents. No information was released on Lester’s role in the case.
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