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Alabama dad arrested in missing baby death hours after begging public for help

Caleb Whisnand Alabama father
Pictured, Caleb Whisnand Alabama father with baby CJ's mother, Angela Gardner.
Caleb Whisnand Alabama father
Pictured, Caleb Whisnand Alabama father with baby CJ’s mother, Angela Gardner.

Caleb Whisnand Montgomery, Alabama father arrested in missing baby son death hours after begging public for help alongside child’s mother, Angela Gardner. 

An Alabama father has been arrested in the death of his missing 5-week-old baby boy. The man’s incarceration came just hours after he gave a press conference alongside his partner begging the public for help finding their son.

Caleb Michael Whisnand Sr., 32, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter Wednesday in Montgomery after the remains of his son, Caleb “CJ” Whisnand Jr., were found, AL.com reported. Authorities said they were looking to upgrade those charges to capital murder in latest developments. 

Authorities said Whisnand called 911 around 10:45 p.m. Monday from a Circle K convenience store outside Montgomery to report a missing child. Cops provided few other details about the child’s disappearance.

Whisnand Sr. and the baby’s mother, Angela Nicole Gardner, who also share a two year old baby daughter, appeared at a press conference Wednesday in which they offered conflicting accounts, initially claiming that the last time they saw CJ was when he was in bed with them on Saturday night.

‘I don’t remember a lot. But I did remember I was breaking up with the cops. If anybody’s got anything, any place I could have gone,’ the father said, AL.com reported.

Conflicting accounts

But then Gardner said Whisnand told her that the baby vanished while with him Monday night at the gas station.

‘He went to go pay gas at the gas station and realized he was gone. He let the police know, and me know, that he was missing … Please find him, please,’ she said.

Whisnand said he had no idea who would take the child and pleaded for his safe return.

The couple who are engaged, provided no explanation for the difference in days, or where C.J. was between Saturday night and Monday night.

‘It would mean everything to us. The family ain’t the same without family, that’s for sure,’ Whisnand said. ‘It’s been taking a toll on everybody.’

Just hours after Wednesday’s press conference, the body of Caleb Whisnand Jr was found in the woods in the remote area of Lowndes County, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

Sheriff’s Capt. Leigh Persky said Whisnand was being held on $100,000 bond in the Montgomery County Detention Center.

Caleb Whisnand Montgomery Alabama
Pictured, Caleb Whisnand Montgomery Alabama and missing child’s mother, Angela Gardner.

Arrested on previous drugs possession charges

The cause and manner of death have yet to be revealed. Also not revealed is why Whisnand would take the life of his own baby son. 

Authorities did not say the missing boy’s mother was also involved in the baby boy’s murder – who seemingly appears to have been duped by the child’s father.

According to Margaret Hope, C.J.’s grandmother and Gardner’s mother, the couple lived with Whisnand’s parents. Gardner was about to leave Whisnand, Hope said, ‘and I think that’s the reason he took the baby.’

Of note, at the time of his arrest Wednesday, Whisnand was already under indictment in an unrelated case on charges of meth and heroin possession, reckless endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia following a June 15, 2020 arrest, while behind the wheel of a car alongside Gardner and the couple’s baby daughter. His trial on those charges is set for October.

Authorities have since revealed they now plan to upgrade charges against Whisnand to capital murder based on additional evidence uncovered during the infant’s autopsy.