Cortney Bell, 24, has been charged with murder of her two-week-old daughter, whose body was found hidden in the woods

January 08, 2018 12:47 PM


The mother of a Georgia newborn found beaten to death and hidden in the woods in October has been indicted for allegedly murdering the two-week-old baby girl, PEOPLE confirms.

Cortney Bell, 24, of Covington, Georgia, was indicted on Friday on charges of second-degree murder, cruelty to children in the second degree and contributing to the deprivation of a minor in connection with the death of her infant, Caliyah McNabb, the district attorney’s office confirms to PEOPLE.

Bell was arrested Saturday afternoon at a Home Depot parking lot in Conyers, Georgia, according to Newton County Jail records.

She is being held without bond at the county jail.

Cortney Bell

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Bell made her first appearance in court Monday and did not enter a plea, The Covington News reports. It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney.

On Friday, the baby’s father, Christopher McNabb, 27, who was arrested on Oct. 8, was also indicted on charges including second-degree murder, aggravated battery, concealing the death of another and felony murder.

Christopher McNabb

He has been held without bond in the county jail since his arrest.

An autopsy determined that the infant died from blunt force trauma to the head, Newton Coroner Tommy Davis confirmed to PEOPLE.

On the morning of Oct. 7, Bell called 911 to report that her baby daughter was missing from the mobile home she shared with McNabb, Capt. Keith Crum of the Newton Sheriff’s Office previously told PEOPLE.

Bell said she had fed the baby and changed her diaper and put her to bed at about 5 a.m., Crum said.

In the 911 call released by police, Bell frantically told the operator that her 2-week-old was not in her sleeper when she woke up.

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Sobbing, Bell said she had been up with the baby most of the night and had fallen asleep on the couch at 5 a.m.

When the 911 operator asked her if someone could have taken the child, Bell told her, “My 2-year-old said she’s gone. And I looked everywhere in the house — I don’t know another possibility.”

After an extensive search, on Oct. 8, volunteers found the baby’s body wrapped up in “blue cloth” in a hole under a log in the woods behind the mobile home where the couple lived, said Crum.

Later that night, McNabb was taken into police custody shortly after he allegedly fled on foot after learning the body of his infant daughter had been found, Crum previously told PEOPLE.

Before he was captured, witnesses allegedly saw him acting erratically at a convenience store. “He was yelling, ‘I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it!’ ” Crum said.

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.

In October, Bell was questioned and released, said Crum.

In October, McNabb refused a public defender, according to The Covington Times. It is unclear whether he now has an attorney.

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