Nancy Grace

Alleged killers talked about corpse on Facebook?

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!

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!

May 30th, 2012
05:29 PM ET

Mom of dead toddler speaks to Nancy Grace

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

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Filed under: Nancy Grace Video • Story Updates
May 28th, 2012
08:20 AM ET

Dr. Henry Lee on new Isabel Celis evidence

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

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Filed under: Isabel Celis • Nancy Grace Video
It’s National Missing Children’s Day
May 25th, 2012
07:14 PM ET

It’s National Missing Children’s Day

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:

  • Special agent Tim Erickson of the North Dakota Bureau of Investigation, for his work on a child pornography investigation that resulted in eight children being rescued from abuse
  • Detective Randall Abbott of the Hartford, Wisconsin Police Department, for a five-year investigation of a child neglect case
  • H. Keith Ray, a postal service worker who helped recover a missing child in Missouri last year
  • Florida Assistant State Attorney Greg Schiller, who got a sexual predator sentenced to 25 years in prison and has worked to toughen his state’s child pornography laws

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.”

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Filed under: America's Missing • Nancy Grace
Nancy Grace Mysteries: ‘Apparent blood’ in Isabel Celis’ house?
May 25th, 2012
03:46 PM ET

Nancy Grace Mysteries: ‘Apparent blood’ in Isabel Celis’ house?

Newly released police reports are raising more questions in the search for missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis. The reports were provided to some news organizations, HLN is currently seeking its own copies.

ABC News reports that documents released Thursday by the Tucson Police Department reveal “apparent blood” was found on the floor of one of the bedrooms in her family’s home. According to HLN affiliate KOLD, the reports also show a white hat and shower curtain with “dark red-brown or brown stains” were removed from a car at the house.

Among other possible evidence detailed in the documents, investigators photographed writing on Isabel’s closet-door frame and walls, the Arizona Daily Star reported. Footprints were believed to be found on an electrical box behind the house and on the ground nearby.

Isabel Celis was reported missing on the morning of April 21. Her parents, Sergio and Becky Celis, said she vanished sometime after they put her to bed around 11:30 the previous night. Becky Celis reportedly left for work around 7:30 a.m. without checking on Isabel. Sergio Celis said in his 911 call that when he went to wake her around 8:00, she was gone. When police arrived, her bedroom window was open and the screen was in the backyard.

Police have said they believe Isabel was abducted, but they have not named any suspects in the case.

Friday night, HLN’s Nancy Grace investigates what these new details could mean. Do they bring us any closer to learning what happened to Isabel Celis? Find out on Nancy Grace Friday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET only on HLN.

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Filed under: Isabel Celis • Missing Persons • Nancy Grace
Mom sought after dead baby found in strawberry field
May 24th, 2012
04:24 PM ET

Mom sought after dead baby found in strawberry field

Authorities are trying to locate the mother of a newborn baby who was found dead in a strawberry field in an unincorporated area of Ventura County, California on Monday morning, and they say they are investigating the case as a homicide.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Don Aguilar said Thursday that detectives are concerned about the physical and psychological condition of the mother and they believe she probably needs medical treatment. Evidence suggests that the woman delivered what Aguilar described as a full-term fetus in the field where the body was discovered.

Although a medical examiner has not yet been able to determine the cause of death and authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the baby was stillborn, it is currently being treated as a homicide. Aguilar said further testing is needed and the investigation is ongoing, so they do not want to rush to judgment.

The sheriff’s office is reaching out to the English and Spanish speaking communities in the area for help finding the child’s mother. A press release stated they are especially interested in people who know of pregnant women “whose pregnancy may have ended mysteriously over the weekend with no sign of a baby.”

Aguilar said the sheriff’s office is also trying to educate the public about California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law, which was passed in 2001 and allows parents to surrender lawful custody of a child at a hospital, fire station or other designated site within 72 hours of birth with no questions asked. Because of incidents like this, they worry that citizens may not be aware that these options are available.

The National Safe Haven Alliance offers additional information on the California law and similar laws in effect in every other state.

“It’s a tragic death,” Aguilar said. “Let’s reduce the risk of this happening again.”

For all the latest news, go to www.HLNtv.com.

 

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Police to return to Isabel Celis’ neighborhood
May 22nd, 2012
01:01 PM ET

Police to return to Isabel Celis’ neighborhood

Police said Monday they will return to the neighborhood where a 6-year-old Tucson girl was reported missing a month ago in hopes of speaking with residents who may not have been interviewed when the area was originally canvassed.

Tucson Police Lt. Fabian Pacheco told reporters at an afternoon press conference that officers investigating the disappearance of Isabel Celis also plan to re-interview all of the Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders nearby whose crimes targeted children under 10 years old. They have spoken to more than 540 registered sex offenders since Isabel was reported missing on April 21.

Pacheco said police will distribute a new flyer that asks several questions of people living or working in the general vicinity of the Celis home:

  • Did they see anything unusual before or since Isabel’s disappearance?
  • Were there delivery people or solicitors in the area during that time?
  • Has there been construction in the area?
  • Were there any yard sales, parties or other large gatherings before the incident?
  • Did they notice any unusual vehicles in the area prior to the disappearance?
  • Do they or their neighbors have surveillance camera at their homes?

Isabel’s parents, Sergio and Becky Celis, told police that she vanished from her bedroom in the middle of the night after they put her to sleep on April 20. In his 911 call, Sergio Celis said he went to wake her around 8:00 a.m. on April 21, but she was gone and her window was open with the screen lying in the backyard.

According to Pacheco, police are still considering the possibility that Isabel was abducted by a stranger, but they have not ruled out anyone, including family members, as suspects. He said the Celis family has been cooperating with the investigation so far and he hopes they will continue to do so.

Pacheco also announced that Monday’s press briefing was the last regularly scheduled update on the case police will be holding.

At a vigil over the weekend, Becky Celis spoke out in defense of Sergio, who has not been charged or named as a suspect in the case. He recently reached a voluntary agreement with Child Protective Services to stay away from their other two children. Authorities have not commented on what led to that decision.

“He’s a great husband, a great father to the boys and to Isabel,” Becky Celis told KGUN. “At the end of the day when Isabel comes home, everybody’s questions will be answered.”

For the latest news on the case, watch Nancy Grace Tuesday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on HLN, or go to www.HLNtv.com

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Filed under: Isabel Celis • Missing Persons
Manhunt for groom after newlywed bride’s murder
May 16th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Manhunt for groom after newlywed bride’s murder

A 30-year-old Chicago man is wanted for murder after police say his new bride was found dead in her bathtub days after their wedding, still wearing the dress she had worn to the reception celebration.

Arnoldo Jimenez / Cook County Sheriff's Office
Arnoldo Jimenez / Cook County Sheriff's Office

According to police, Arnoldo Jimenez and 26-year-old Estrella Carrera married at city hall in Chicago on Friday, May 11 and then went out to celebrate with friends and family that night. Both were last seen getting out of a rented limo around 4 am on Saturday to return home. Authorities are now asking for the public’s help locating Jimenez, who they say was last known to be driving a black 2006 Maserati sedan.

Carrera’s body was discovered by officers conducting a welfare check at her apartment around 4:30 pm Sunday, the Burbank Police Department said in a press release. Relatives had contacted police after she failed to pick up her two young children from a family member’s home on Saturday.

Police said Carrera, whose body had suffered multiple stab wounds, was still wearing a silver sequined cocktail dress she had been seen wearing Friday night. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death a homicide on Monday. A first-degree murder warrant has been issued for Jimenez’s arrest.

On Tuesday, Burbank police released an image of Carrera wearing the silver dress and a photo of Jimenez’s Maserati. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to call police at 708-924-7300.

For more on the case, watch Nancy Grace Wednesday at 8 pm and 10 pm ET on HLN, and for all the latest news, go to www.HLNtv.com.

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911 calls from Isabel Celis case released
May 15th, 2012
12:36 PM ET

911 calls from Isabel Celis case released

In a 911 call released Monday, Sergio Celis calmly informed a dispatcher that his 6-year-old daughter Isabel had disappeared from her bedroom in their Tucson home.

“I need to report a missing child. I believe she was abducted from my house,” he said. Asked why he believes she was abducted, however, he responded, “I have no idea.”

On the morning of April 21, Celis called 911 to report that Isabel was gone when he went to wake her up and her bedroom window was open with the screen laying the backyard. “My sons are running around the house looking for her,” he said.

According to Celis, the family got home from his son’s baseball game around 10:30 the previous night and the kids went to sleep soon after that. He told the dispatcher he had been watching TV in the living room at midnight and “never heard anything weird.”

“I was like just on the other side of the wall from her,” he said.

Isabel’s mother Becky had already left for work when Sergio Celis called 911. “I just called her. I told her to get her butt home,” he said.

In a separate 911 call, Becky Celis sounded more emotional and at times panicked as she tried to explain what happened.

“I went to work this morning at 7 and I just, I didn’t even come in and check on her. I should have checked on her,” she said.

Becky Celis told a dispatcher she had put braided ponytails in Isabel’s hair before she went to bed. She said Isabel was wearing an Old Navy American flag t-shirt and navy blue shorts when she last saw her.

Isabel’s 14-year-old brother also spoke to the dispatcher.

“Someone broke in and grabbed her,” he said, adding that it looked like the screen was taken off her bedroom window.

Also on Monday, police confirmed that there has been a voluntary agreement between Sergio Celis and Child Protective Services that he will stay away from his two sons. They would not say what led to that decision.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor cautioned reporters at an afternoon press conference not to read too much into the development and said it is not indicative of a specific path investigators are pursuing.

In local and national media interviews, Isabel’s parents have both denied having any involvement in her disappearance.

 For expert analysis of the Celis 911 calls, watch Nancy Grace Tuesday at 8 pm and 10 pm ET on HLN, and go to www.HLNtv.com for all the latest news on the case.

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Bain girls safe; Adam Mayes dead
May 11th, 2012
08:16 AM ET

Bain girls safe; Adam Mayes dead

Two missing Tennessee girls are safe, and the man accused of abducting them and killing their mother and older sister is dead, authorities confirmed Thursday night.

Special operations teams following a tip located Adam Mayes with 12-year-old Alexandria and 8-year-old Kyliyah Bain in a wooded area behind a church in Alpine, Mississippi around 6:50 pm Thursday, FBI special agent Aaron Ford told reporters at a press conference. Ford said Mayes shot himself in the head with a semi-automatic pistol when ordered to surrender. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

According to the Ford, the two girls, who were reported missing on April 27, appeared to be suffering from exposure, dehydration and poison ivy. The bodies of their mother, Jo Ann Bain, and 14-year-old sister Adrienne were found on the property where Mayes lived in Guntown, Mississippi last Friday.

For more details, head to HLNtv.com.

Watch Nancy Grace Friday at 8 pm and 10 pm ET on HLN for reaction from Bain family friends and Mayes’ mother-in-law, and for all the latest news go to www.HLNtv.com.

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Police seek car associated with Sierra LaMar disappearance
May 7th, 2012
02:40 PM ET

Police seek car associated with Sierra LaMar disappearance

Authorities are asking for the public’s help locating a vehicle that may be associated with the disappearance of California teen Sierra LaMar.

The Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office released a photo Monday of a car that they say closely resembles a red mid-1990s four-door Volkswagen Jetta with a black hood that they identified through witness interviews and review of surveillance videos. 15-year-old LaMar was last seen at her mother’s Morgan Hill home on March 16.

Sgt. Jose Cardoza told the San Jose Mercury News that the red Jetta was seen in the area where LaMar disappeared that morning and was later caught on surveillance video near places where evidence in the case was found. While investigators do not know whether LaMar was in the vehicle, Cardoza said it was “more than a coincidence” that it was spotted in these locations.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the sheriff’s office also announced that a handcuff box and used condoms found a couple of miles from LaMar’s home in late March are not connected to her disappearance. Investigators are still waiting on results of other forensic testing in the case.

Anyone with information about the vehicle is asked to call the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office at (408) 808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.

For the latest news on this and other cases, go to www.HLNtv.com.

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