Wendell Noyes was charged this week with the 2011 murder of his 11-year-old stepdaughter Celina Cass
Five years after 11-year-old Celina Cass‘ lifeless body was found wrapped in a blanket in a New Hampshire river, her stepfather has been officially implicated in her death.
New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster’s office announced Monday that Cass’ stepfather, Wendell Noyes, now 52, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, the Associated Press and other outlets report.
Although Cass’ mother, Louisia, initially avoided the media spotlight surrounding her daughter’s disappearance and death, she spoke to New Hampshire news outlet WMUR on Monday night, shortly after news of Noyes’ arrest broke.
“Why? That word, ‘why,’ has run through my head for the last five years. Why would anyone want to go and take my baby girl away from me?” Louisia said.
Louisia claimed she knew all along that Noyes (now her ex-husband) was responsible for her daughter’s death – and she has spent the last five years praying for an arrest.
” ‘Don’t give up, Louisia. Don’t give up, Louisia.’ I could hear her saying, ‘Mommy, don’t give up on me,’ ” she said. “I want him to rot so bad.”
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Cass went missing from her Stewartstown, New Hampshire, home on July 25, 2011. A week later, her body was found wrapped in a blanket in the Connecticut River, near a hydroelectric dam between Stewartstown and Canaan, Vermont.
Noyes was not named a suspect in the case at first, though police seized his pickup truck in their initial search of Cass’ home. In the weeks following Cass’ disappearance, Noyes was hospitalized twice: He was first taken away by an ambulance on Aug. 1 after dropping onto the ground, lying face down and flailing, and on Aug. 5, he checked into a mental health facility.
According to court documents obtained by the Associated Press, Noyes had a history of psychiatric issues. In 2003 he was reportedly found unfit to stand trial after he was charged with breaking into an ex-girlfriend’s home and threatening her.