Police have detained the father of a 2-week-old baby girl whose body was found wrapped in cloth in a wooded area behind her parents’ mobile home in Covington, Georgia, PEOPLE confirms.
On Sunday night, police captured Christopher McNabb, who allegedly briefly fled on foot after learning the body of his infant daughter Caliyah McNabb had been found, Capt. Keith Crum of the Newtown County Sheriff’s Office tells PEOPLE. McNabb has not been charged and is considered a person of interest, says Crum.
Before McNabb was taken into custody, witnesses allegedly saw him acting erratically at a convenience store. “He was yelling, ‘I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it!’ ” Crum says.
When McNabb ran out of the store, police arrested him for an alleged unrelated probation violation out of Bartow County. He is being held at the Newtown County Jail and is being questioned by investigators, says Crum.
Police are awaiting autopsy results for the cause and manner of death, he says.
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“She was so tiny, so innocent, ” Caliyah’s grandfather, Tim Bell, told local news station WSB-TV in Atlanta. “She’s just a little baby. Stuff like this ain’t supposed to happen.”
Father Called 911 to Report Baby Missing
On Saturday morning, McNabb and the baby’s mother, Courtney Bell, called 911 to report that their 15-day-old daughter was missing, says Crum.
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They said they had fed her and changed her diaper and put her in bed with her 2-year-old sister at about 5 a.m., says Crum. But when they went to check on her at 10 a.m., she was missing, Crum alleges.
After an extensive search on Saturday, volunteer searchers found the baby’s body in the woods behind the family’s home on Sunday afternoon, says Crum.
“One of the searchers had seen a depressed area in the ground, with a log laying across it,” he says.
When the searcher looked under the log, he noticed that a hole had been dug underneath it.
“There was a blue cloth in the hole,” he says. “The cloth was removed and wrapped inside was the body of an infant child.”
Someone texted the baby’s mother, telling her they had found the body of an infant, says Crum.
She and McNabb were driving when the text came through. “When the mother told the father, he made a couple statements that he would be blamed and jumped out of the car and ran,” Crum alleged.
Store clerk Julie Hannah told Fox 5 Atlanta that she saw McNabb when he came into the store. “He was real wet and nasty like he had been running through the woods in the rain,” Hannah said. “He started hollering and talking about, ‘They are going to get me. They are going to get me. I’ve been running all day. I have been in the woods all day.’ ”
Hannah added, “He went on and on and on just rambling ‘I didn’t do it. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t the baby’s mama. Y’all going to look crazy when you figure this out.’”
The clerk called 911 and McNabb was taken into custody without incident.
The mother, Bell, was questioned and released, says Crum. PEOPLE’s calls to Bell were not immediately returned.
It is unclear whether McNabb has retained an attorney.