A Mississippi woman who was supposedly caring for a friend's 5-year-old special needs son allegedly told police she fatally beat the boy because he wouldn't stop crying after being scalded in a bath.
Celeste Louise Smith, 35, has been charged with capital murder and two counts of child neglect, according to USA Today.
The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services told Oxygen.com they received an anonymous tip on their child abuse hotline Sept. 6 about 5-year-old Jakie Toole. When they couldn’t locate the child, they contacted law enforcement.
The child's mother, who wasn't named, told authorities she hadn’t seen her son since April. Police interviewed Smith, who reportedly once cared for the child, and she later led detectives to a wooded area and then to a home's basement where the a child's remains were found in several bags that had been taped shut, investigators said. An autopsy confirmed the remains were those of a small child who died from “multiple blunt trauma due to beating,” the Associated Press reported. The identity of the child hasn’t yet been verified.
Meridian police chief Benny Dubose also told USA Today that authorities believe the 35-year-old woman burnt the boy while giving him a bath, and beat him to death after he wouldn’t stop crying. However, during an initial autopsy, the child’s body was too decomposed to show any visible signs he had burned.
Meridian police chief Benny Dubose said the boy was non-verbal and unable to walk.
Lea Anne Brandon, director of communications for the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, declined to comment on the case further.
Smith appeared in court Thursday and is currently being held on a $80,000 bond for the two child neglect charges at a Lauderdale County jail, according to online court records. She was reportedly denied bail on the capital murder charges. It’s unclear if she’s retained a criminal defense attorney.
Meridian Police Department didn’t respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
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