Cory Hagwell a Florida mother’s boyfriend is indicted with murder after kicking a three year old child in the head as punishment before discarding her body with the girl’s mother.
Cory Hagwell a 29 year old Florida man has been charged with murder after kicking his girlfriend’s three year old daughter in the head, killing the toddler, as punishment for getting out of her car seat.
An autopsy revealed Adelynn Merrell, whose body was found in a wooded area in Crestview last week having died the result of a skull fracture caused by blunt trauma.
Also implicated in the child’s murder, was 23 year old mother Destinee Merrell who helped Hagwell dump the child’s body. Upon her confession to police, the woman was charged with accessory after the fact, aggravated child abuse and three counts of child neglect.
Notice of Adelynn’s death came after the child’s mother along with her live in boyfriend reported the toddler girl missing, this past Friday, circa 12.30pm.
The Northwest Florida Daily News reported Merrell and Hagwell telling responding officers of having last seen the three-year-old playing in the backyard, saying they believed Adelynn had been kidnapped.
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, amidst an intense search for the missing girl, deputies were struck by how ‘calm and unemotional’ Destinee appeared.
As they continued to talk to her, the mother-of-three eventually confessed that Hagwell had kicked Adelynn in the head and locked her in a closet, before burying the child’s body to the woods. The girl’s body was recovered circa 4.30pm, Friday afternoon reported WJHG-TV.
Adelynn Merrell child abuse: Pattern of abuse.
Upon further questioning, Merrell revealed the incident taking place at 6.30am, while admitting not checking on Adelynn until around 11.30am later that morning. By that time the toddler had already died.
Authorities claim an hour later, the couple calling 911 with their bogus child abduction story.
In the course of the investigation, Merrell and Hagwell gave conflicting stories told Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley reported wtvy.
Another child in the home, presumably one of Adelynn’s brothers, said he saw Hagwell kick the three-year-old while she was playing and he heard Merrell say, ‘stop, Cory.’
The boy says he also saw his sister in a bedroom closet on the floor and not talking – and never saw or heard her again.
Merrell told investigators Hagwell lost his job about a month ago and began showing escalating violence towards Adelynn.
Merrell described hearing thuds and the sounds of the three-year-old crying 15-16 times over the past month. She said Hagwell would also withhold food from Adelynn and put her in the closet for extended periods of time.
At the time of the couple’s arrest, sheriff’s deputies had another child removed from the home and taken to a hospital, where a doctor found the five-year-old was suffering from malnutrition, weighing less than 33lbs, with ‘bones in all regions of his body exposed.’
Both Merrell and Hagwell are being held without bond at the Okaloosa County Jail.