A young couple reportedly partied at a bar after allegedly murdering a 19-year-old girl, then argued about how to dispose of her corpse in text and Facebook messages!
The babysitter accused of hiding a 1-year-old Ohio boy’s body in a closet and falsely reporting him missing had been caring for him for about two weeks, his mother said Wednesday.
According to Kiara Carter, she and Marquita Burch were “like sisters” until last Friday. She said Burch had babysat 1-year-old William Cunningham for extended periods of time before, but she always brought him home whenever Carter asked.
This time, however, “She just kept saying, here I come, here I come, but she never came with my baby,” Carter told HLN’s Nancy Grace Wednesday in an emotional interview.
Finally, on Friday afternoon, according to Carter, Burch told her that William was missing.
“When I got up there, I had a instinct like, my baby’s not here,” Carter said. “My baby is somewhere else and something’s wrong with him.”
Her fears were confirmed Saturday when William’s body was found in a closet in a Cincinnati apartment, where police say Burch admitted she had hidden it. Burch is now charged with tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.
Burch’s attorney has not returned calls from HLN seeking comment on the case, but WCPO reported that he claimed at her arraignment Monday that the boy’s death was the result of an accidental fall.
Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco told Nancy Grace Wednesday that William’s body was partially decomposed and showed evidence of head trauma. She estimated that he had been dead for 2-5 days when he was found.
As the investigation continues and authorities work to determine exactly how William Cunningham died, his mother has one question she wants answered.
“All I want to know is just, ‘Why?’” Carter said.
For the entire interview, watch Nancy Grace tonight at 8 & 10 PM ET on HLN or go to www.hlntv.com
CINCINNATI, OHIO - Authorities are investigating the death of a 1-year-old boy after police say they discovered the infant’s body in a hallway closet.
Marquita Burch, 26, has been charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. She is currently being held on a $500,000 bond at the Hamilton County Justice Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has not been charged with murder.
Cincinnati Police Lt. Anthony Carter told HLN that 1-year-old William Cunningham was reported missing by his babysitter on Friday afternoon, May 25. Authorities say the babysitter told them the boy went missing from a playground on Friday after he wandered off while playing with other children.
Investigators, emergency workers and firefighters immediately began searching for the boy. After a massive search, police say the babysitter recanted her story and told investigators that the child accidentally died in an apartment.
Police say Burch told them the child accidentally fell down the steps at her residence in Kentucky. Burch’s attorney has not returned calls from HLN seeking comment on the case, but WCPO reported that he claimed at her arraignment Monday that the boy’s death was the result of an accidental fall.
Investigators say they learned Burch concealed and moved the body from one location to another, according to the arrest and investigation report.
Police say Burch directed investigators to the apartment where the body was found. When police entered the apartment, they found the body 1-year-old William Cunningham in the hallway closet.
Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco told HLN that the child’s body was partially decomposed and had he been dead for at least 48 hours before his body was found. He suffered head trauma and there was blood in his head and around his brain, according to Sammarco. Sammarco says the infant’s body was wrapped in a bed sheet, placed inside a plastic bag, and then put in another bag full of laundry.
Further tests are being conducted before an official cause and manner of death is determined.
Lt. Carter told HLN that the child had been in Burch’s care since May 1, however, the mother, the child and Burch had regular visits with each other up until the days prior to the discovery of the body.
Anyone with information regarding the death of 1-year-old William Cunningham is asked to call the Cincinnati Crime Stoppers at 888-352-3040.
For more on the story, go to www.hlntv.com
Investigators have announced a major break in the disappearance of a 21-year-old University of Louisiana college student who was last seen riding her bike home from a friend’s house in the early morning hours of May 19.
Two fishermen discovered the missing co-ed’s bike Sunday morning under a bridge at the Atchafalaya River. The discovery was made approximately 27 miles from where Michaela “Mickey” Shunick was last seen.
Lafayette Police spokesman Paul Mouton told HLN that police are still examining the bike for evidence and will not release the condition of the bike at this time. Family members confirmed the bike found belonged to their missing daughter.
Police have also uncovered surveillance video which they believe captured Shunick riding her bike just minutes after she left her friend’s home. Investigators announced they are seeking information on at least three vehicles also seen on the surveillance video.
Mouton told HLN the vehicles of interest include:
• A white, four-door truck that was travelling in the same direction
• A white, four-door Chevrolet Z71, also headed in the same direction
• A 80’s or 90’s GM model vehicle with rear right body work, travelling in the same direction
• A white truck with a bed cover that was travelling in the opposite direction about three minutes after Mickey passed through the area
Authorities have not determined whether two of those images show the same vehicle.
Police say they have interviewed another 21-year-old girl who claims a man driving a white pick up truck offered her a ride two months ago. Joy Patterson, the mother of the 21-year-old, told HLN’s Nancy Grace that her daughter was riding her bike home from a doctor’s appointment when she accepted a ride from the man because she was exhausted.
Patterson says her daughter placed her bike in the back of the man’s white GMC Sierra 2500 Texas Edition and he gave her a ride for six blocks. Patterson said the man and her daughter began talking and she told him she was looking for a job. He then offered her money for sex, according to Patterson. When she no, he let her out of the car.
During the course of the ride, the man also told her he “liked to ride around town looking for pretty young girls to pick up,” Patterson said.
The incident was never reported to police because the 21-year-old was scared, according to her mother. Police have not said whether they believe the incident is connected to Mickey Shunick’s disappearance.
A massive grid search of the river and the area where Shunick’s bike was found is being conducted by police Monday. Authorities are asking the public to stay away so law enforcement can thoroughly process the scene.
Tom Shunick, Mickey’s father, told HLN’s Nancy Grace he feels that his daughter is still alive.
Mickey Shunick is a white female, 5’1”, 115 lbs, with shoulder-length blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seeing wearing a pastel striped shirt, jeans and gray shoes. If you have any information regarding her disappearance, please call police at 337-291-8633. There is a $25,000 reward.
For more on the case, go to www.hlntv.com
Prominent forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee said Friday that possible blood stains discovered by police in the Isabel Celis investigation could provide significant information.
Lee, well-known for his work on O.J. Simpson's defense team, told HLN's Nancy Grace that details contained in newly released police reports may be crucial to solving the mystery of the 6-year-old's disappearance.
One document obtained by HLN Friday states that "apparent blood" was found in the middle bedroom in the east side of the house. It also notes that a shower curtain and white hat with red-brown stains on them were found in one of the cars outside the home.
Field tests to determine whether the stains on curtain were from blood were not completed at the scene, and Dr. Lee suggested there may be a good reason for that. If the stain was small enough, the field test could destroy too much of it to allow DNA testing to be done later, he said. Lee added that forensic tests on a complete sample could enable investigators to determine whether the blood is human, whose blood it is and whether someone has tried to clean it.
The police reports also show that footprints were found on an electrical box behind the Celis house. According to Lee, those footprints could have great investigative value. Examination of a shoeprint can reveal the height and weight of the individual who left it and potentially even the brand of shoe they wore. Lee said authorities have likely searched for linkage to similar prints in or around the house, in a neighbor's yard or anywhere else in the area.
For more on the story, go to www.hlntv.com
Friday marks both the 33rd anniversary of 6-year-old Etan Patz’s disappearance and the 29th National Missing Children’s Day. Although an arrest was made Thursday in Patz’s case, he has not been found and hundreds of other children are still missing across the country.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25 to be National Missing Children’s Day with the intent to honor the nation’s commitment to finding missing children.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children urges parents to take 25 minutes to talk with their children about safety, and they have provided 25 tips to protect kids at home, at school, in public and on the internet. You can find that information here.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking people to visit its website and see if they recognize any of the missing children whose photos are posted there. The agency has also launched a new version of its free Child ID app designed specifically for Android-based phones. An Apple version is also available. The app enables parents to store pictures and vital information about their child in case they go missing and allows them to easily provide that information to authorities.
The Department of Justice held a National Missing Children’s Day ceremony earlier this week where awards were given to four people for their efforts to keep children safe:
Also at the event was Las Vegas fifth-grader Elisa Martinez, recipient of this year’s National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest Award.
“Protecting children is one of the important jobs we have,” Deputy Attorney General Cole said in a statement. “There is no rest for a parent who has lost a child, and there should be no rest for any of us who are in a position to help…I am honored to recognize those who work on the front lines to rescue children and bring them home safely.”