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Murder Trial

Jurors Visit Crime Scene Of Caliyah McNabb, After Chilling Testimony From Medical Examiner On Caliyah’s Death

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Watch the trial, from gavel-to-gavel live, courtesy of Court TV above.

WARNING: Graphic content will be discussed in the video above, and in the article below.

She was wearing a purple onesie that read, “Stay away boys, my daddy works out,” and a men’s tank top had been placed over the head of little Caliyah McNabb. But even before conducting the autopsy, a GBI doctor could tell how the 2-week-old Newton County baby had been injured, she testified Wednesday. 


“The head was enlarged visually,” Lora Darrisaw, a forensic pathologist, told the court. “By feeling the head, it was very soft and by feeling it you could tell there were already broken bones.”

The autopsy revealed Caliyah had multiple skull fractures, and some bones in her head were held together by only soft tissue, Darrisaw said. The newborn’s injuries were caused by “very, very significant force” from either being crushed or from multiple impacts, she said. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and the manner was homicide, according to Darrisaw. 

While pictures from the autopsy were shown in court, Caliyah’s parents held their heads down and wept. Christopher McNabb and Cortney Bell, the baby’s parents, are both accused in her death. Wednesday was the third day of the couple’s trial. 


A Newton County, Georgia, jury took a 6-mile trip with deputies on Wednesday, on the third day of the murder trial against the parents of a newborn, who are accused of killing the infant and hiding her body. The jury, according to AJC, traveled to the Eagle Pointe mobile home park in Covington, where 15-day-old Caliyah lived with her parents, Christopher McNabb and Courtney Bell. Both parents are currently on trial for the baby’s murder.

Jurors also saw the secluded, wooded area where Caliyah was ultimately buried. In October 2017, a day after Bell reported Caliyah missing, a volunteer search team found the baby around 900 yards from her family home. Caliyah, just five pounds, was wrapped inside a Nike drawstring bag that prosecutors said belonged to McNabb.

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As CrimeOnline previously reported, Caliyah McNabb disappeared in October 2017. Bell contacted police and said she woke up to find Caliyah missing and her toddler daughter crying. The woman claimed she had no idea what happened to Caliyah.

When police arrived to Bell’s residence, they rummaged through piled up clothes and boxes in a tiny trailer home, searching for signs of Caliyah. The baby’s father, Christopher McNabb, told police he searched throughout the wooded area surrounding their home but had no luck finding her.

A video shown in court Tuesday offered a more detailed glimpse into what happened the morning Caliyah was reported missing.

During testimony on Tuesday, Bell’s cousin, Megan Sorrells, said Bell was being abused at home during the time Caliyah vanished. She also testified that McNabb and Bell were constantly fighting. Sorrells said Bell never told her about the abuse, but as a domestic abuse victim herself, she could already tell.

“She always had bruises on her,” Sorrells said of Bell. “I didn’t really have to ask many questions. I could tell.”

According to court testimony, baby Caliyah stayed several days with her grandfather, Tim, after her birth. Tim testified that he returned the child home with milk and clean diapers in early October, and told his daughter, Bell, to clean up her filthy trailer home.

The next day, on October 6, Cortney Bell called 911 and reported the baby missing.

The warrant against McNabb states that baby Caliyah suffered a blow so severe to her head that her skull was “seriously disfigured and damaged beyond repair.”

After causing fatal injuries to the infant, McNabb wrapped her in a blanket and one of his t-shirts, then put her into his duffel bag, according to the warrant. He then reportedly took Caliyah into the woods and buried her in a depressed area under a log.

Captain Crum with the Newton County Police Department said that along with evidence found at the crime scene, McNabb made incriminating statements when first interviewed on October 6.

“I think we know and can prove in a court what happened and that’s the next step,” Crum said in 2018. “He had made a couple of initial statements then he indicated to investigators he did not wish to talk anymore.”

Detectives working the case said last year that the crime was planned. They indicated there would be evidence to prove that McNabb “planned her murder,” before hiding the baby in the woods.

Cortney Bell and Christopher McNabb [Police Handout]

McNabb, who has a long history of non-violent crimes, jumped out of a car on October 7 when he heard that Caliyah’s remains had been found. He ran to a nearby convenience store and started shouting to store clerk Julie Hannah, who had no idea who he was. He kept repeating that he didn’t kill his child, according to court documents.

A family friend who spoke exclusively to CrimeOnline in October 2018, said she was in the process of driving McNabb, Bell, and Bell’s mother to an interview with a local station, when they caught wind that searchers located a baby. According to the friend, McNabb immediately jumped out of her car at a red light and fled to a nearby store.

“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 said last year.

Police arrested McNabb around four hours later. He was soaking wet after hiding out in pouring rain.

“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,” McNabb reportedly said to Hannah, according to FOX 5.

McNabb is facing charges of aggravated battery, felony murder, malice murder, and concealing the death of another. The Newton County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that the baby died from blunt force trauma.

In January 2018, after months of investigation, authorities arrested Bell in connection with Caliyah’s death. She’s facing charges of murder in the second degree, cruelty to children, and the deprivation of a minor.

The trial continues. Check back with CrimeOnline for updates.

(Reporting By CrimeOnline and AJC)

Murder Trial

Parents of Caliyah McNabb Found Guilty, Sentenced In 14-Day-Old Daughter’s Murder

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The parents of a 14-day-old Georgia baby were found guilty on Tuesday in connection with the little girl’s death. Caliyah McNabb suffered horrific injuries after her father beat her in the head and hid her tiny body in the woods, around 900 feet from her home.

“She was a little angel,” District Attorney Layla Zon said during her closing arguments inside a Newton County courtroom Tuesday afternoon. “She was a gift to Cortney Bell and Christopher McNabb.”

Christopher McNabb, the baby’s father, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, and other related charges. Cortney Bell, the baby’s mother, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in 15 years, on charges of second-degree murder, child deprivation, and child cruelty.

McNabb grew angry after the guilty verdict, which only took the jury around an hour to decide. Judge John Ott ordered him out of the courtroom. When he returned for sentencing, McNabb claimed he was innocent and planned to appeal.

“The whole thing was a set-up,” McNabb hissed, clearly upset with the verdict. “I was beat as a child and I don’t agree with this at all. I don’t agree with this at all. I would never do this.”

Ott asked McNabb what type of sentence he would give the person responsible for Caliyah’s death. McNabb replied that the guilty party should be thrown “under the jail.” With that, Ott sentenced McNabb to life without parole.

Bell shed tears during sentencing as she also claimed innocence. Ott told Bell that she allowed a “rattlesnake into her home” by putting McNabb before her children and allowing violence and drugs into her children’s lives.

“You chose meth and McNabb over a baby,” Ott said. “Like most criminals, you have a version of what a good mama is that is so far from the norm.”

Baby Caliyah’s Short Life

As CrimeOnline previously reported, in October 2017, the Newton County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that Caliyah died from blunt force trauma to the head. The injuries were gruesome. The infant was beaten in so badly that her baby teeth, which had not yet developed, stuck out through her gums.

The baby also suffered a blow so severe to her head that her skull was “seriously disfigured and damaged beyond repair.” McNabb caused the injuries, then in a panic, wrapped the baby in a blanket and one of his t-shirts, and put her into a Nike drawstring bag. He then took Caliyah into the woods behind his trailer home in Covington and buried her in a depressed area under a log.

It’s unclear exactly what caused the horrific beating, but according to testimony by Bell’s cousin, Gerald Weatherford, both Bell and McNabb smoked meth with him on October 7, 2017, the night before Caliyah disappeared.

“Cortney Bell was too busy smoking methamphetamine to protect her child,” Assistant District Attorney Alex Stone said.

During testimony last week, Bell’s cousin, Megan Sorrells, said Bell was being abused at home during the time Caliyah vanished. She also testified that McNabb and Bell were constantly fighting. Sorrells said Bell never told her about the abuse, but as a domestic abuse victim herself, she could already tell.

“She always had bruises on her,” Sorrells said of Bell. “I didn’t really have to ask many questions. I could tell.”

Court testimony also indicated that little Caliyah wasn’t around her parents much in the mere 14 days she was alive. After spending four days in the hospital after birth, McNabb and Bell passed the baby off to family members multiple times. Caliyah stayed several days with her grandfather, Tim Bell.

Tim testified that he returned the child home with milk and clean diapers in early October, and told his daughter, Bell, to clean up her filthy trailer home. The following day, Caliyah was dead.

Although Bell wasn’t accused of physically harming the baby, by allowing Caliyah to live in a dangerous environment while doing nothing to protect her, makes her culpable of murder. Ott explained to Bell that her second-degree murder charge meant that irrespective of malice, while she was in the commission of neglecting her baby, she helped caused her death.

Zon added that Caliyah’s best days were the days she stayed in the hospital after birth, and that the baby was “doomed” as soon as she was taken home.

“That child was doomed the moment they left that hospital. They took pure innocence and brought that child into a life of hell.”

(Reporting by CrimeOnline)

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Murder Trial

Murder Trial of Mother and Father In Death Of Their Child, 15-Day-Old Caliyah McNabb Begins

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Watch the trial, from gavel-to-gavel live, courtesy of Court TV above.

During opening statements Tuesday in a Newton County courtroom, the defense lawyer for a Georgia couple accused of killing their newborn girl argued that no evidence exists that shows the defendants harmed their infant. Prosecutors argued that the baby’s parents killed her while living in small, messy trailer home, then disposed of her in a secluded, wooded area.


“They went after the people who were most vulnerable,” defense lawyer Anthony Carter told the court. “The people that had just lost their 2-week-old baby.”

Carter argued that Newton County authorities zeroed in on Christopher McNabb, the father of slain 15-day-old Caliyah McNabb, almost immediately after the baby’s disappearance, before her remains were found.

Assistant district attorney, Alex Stone, argued that not only did the suspects, including McNabb and the baby’s mother, Cortney Bell, kill their own child, but that the child was living with drug-addicted parents who were in a volatile, violent relationship.

During testimony on Tuesday, Bell’s cousin, Megan Sorrells, said Bell was being abused at home during the time Caliyah vanished. She also testified that McNabb and Bell were constantly fighting. Sorrells said Bell never told her about the abuse, but as a domestic abuse victim herself, she could already tell.

“She always had bruises on her,” Sorrells said of Bell. “I didn’t really have to ask many questions. I could tell.”

According to court testimony, baby Caliyah stayed several days with her grandfather, Tim, after her birth. Tim testified that he returned the child home with milk and clean diapers in early October, and told his daughter, Bell, to clean up her filthy trailer home.

The next day, on October 6, Cortney Bell called 911 and reported the baby missing.

The warrant against McNabb states that baby Caliyah suffered a blow so severe to her head that her skull was “seriously disfigured and damaged beyond repair.”

After causing fatal injuries to the infant, McNabb wrapped her in a blanket and one of his t-shirts, then put her into his duffel bag, according to the warrant. He then reportedly took Caliyah into the woods and buried her in a depressed area under a log.

Captain Crum with the Newton County Police Department said that along with evidence found at the crime scene, McNabb made incriminating statements when first interviewed on October 6.

“I think we know and can prove in a court what happened and that’s the next step,” Crum said in 2018. “He had made a couple of initial statements then he indicated to investigators he did not wish to talk anymore.”

Detectives working the case said last year that the crime was planned. They indicated there would be evidence to prove that McNabb “planned her murder,” before hiding the baby in the woods.

McNabb, who has a long history of non-violent crimes, jumped out of a car on October 7 when he heard that Caliyah’s remains had been found. He ran to a nearby convenience store and started shouting to store clerk Julie Hannah, who had no idea who he was. He kept repeating that he didn’t kill his child, according to court documents.

A family friend who spoke exclusively to CrimeOnline in October 2018, said she was in the process of driving McNabb, Bell, and Bell’s mother to an interview with a local station, when they caught wind that searchers located a baby. According to the friend, McNabb immediately jumped out of her car at a red light and fled to a nearby store.

“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 said last year.

Police arrested McNabb around four hours later. He was soaking wet after hiding out in pouring rain.

“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,” McNabb reportedly said to Hannah, according to FOX 5.

McNabb is facing charges of aggravated battery, felony murder, malice murder, and concealing the death of another. The Newton County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that the baby died from blunt force trauma.

In January 2018, after months of investigation, authorities arrested Bell in connection with Caliyah’s death. She’s facing charges of murder in the second degree, cruelty to children, and the deprivation of a minor.

The trial continues. Check back with CrimeOnline for updates.

(Reporting By CrimeOnline)

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