Murder Trial of Parents Accused of Killing 2-Week-Old Daughter Begins

May 7, 2019 Updated: May 7, 2019

The trial against parents who are accused of murdering their 2-week-old daughter and dumping her body in the woods began on May 7.

Parents Cortney Bell and Christopher McNabb are facing multiple charges, including murder, after the body of their infant daughter was found in a wooded area near their home in October 2017.

In their opening statements, prosecutors told jurors that Bell and McNabb were negligent parents who provided an unhealthy living space for their children 2-year-old Clarissa and their now-dead 15-day-old Caliyah. They said the pair smoked meth and brought drug-addicted friends into the house, reported 11 Alive.

“We’re not going to sugar coat anything for you, we’re going to show you exactly how this baby was living,” Newton County Assistant District Attorney Alex Stone said.

Meanwhile, the defense attorneys for McNabb and Bell told the court that the state wouldn’t be able to prove the pair were responsible for the infant’s death beyond a reasonable doubt.

On the morning of Oct. 7, 2017, Bell frantically called 911 to report Caliyah missing. The terror in Bell’s voice could be heard in the 911 audio recording.

She said she had been asleep since 5 a.m. after feeding the child but when she woke up the baby was gone.

“Okay, you said you were sleep and woke up and she was gone?” the 911 operator asked.

“Yes. My my 2-year-old came and woke me up. I was sleeping on the couch,” she said.

Searchers hours looking for Caliyah, who was found the next day, wrapped in a blue cloth and placed underneath a log in a wooded area located about a quarter mile away from the trailer park where her parents lived, according to Newton County Sheriff’s Capt. Keith Crum, reported the news website.

Crum said after Caliyah’s body was found, McNabb allegedly tried to make an escape but was intercepted and arrested at a gas station.

An autopsy by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner of Caliyah’s body revealed in October 2017 that the baby had died from a blunt force trauma to the head and the manner of death was ruled as a homicide.

McNabb was subsequently charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, and concealing a death, reported the news website. The arrest warrant revealed that McNabb had struck the victim “with an unknown object.”

“This action did cause the victim’s skull to be seriously disfigured and damaged beyond repair,” according to the warrant, reported the news website.

Bell was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder, second-degree cruelty to children and contributing to the deprivation of a minor in January 2018.

Violence Against Children

In another case of apparent child abuse, a father from Louisville was charged after allegedly hitting and killing his 1-month-old son. Police said he became upset for losing a video game.

Anthony Trice, 26, was babysitting the infant alone on May 3 when he lost a video game and threw the controller, reported WDRB, citing police.

Police said Trice then allegedly took out his anger by punching his son in the head with his fist, causing serious injury to the child. The 26-year-old then picked up the infant and walked to the kitchen to prepare him a bottle. But he dropped the child while carrying him to the kitchen, according to authorities.

Trice then noticed his son was “in distress” and called 911. The baby was taken to Norton Children’s Hospital in a serious condition and died on May 5.

The father was originally charged with first-degree criminal abuse of a child, but those charges were upgraded to murder on May 6, according to jail records. He bond was also raised to $1,000,000 cash.

He is scheduled to next appear in court on May 16.

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