Florida deputies say a 3-year-old girl found dead in the woods allegedly had been kicked in the head and locked in a closet by the mother’s boyfriend as punishment for getting out of her car seat, PEOPLE confirms.
Three-year-old Adelynn Merrell was reported missing around 12:30 p.m. Friday by her mother, Destinee Merrell, and her live-in boyfriend, Cory Hagwell, who said they’d last seen her playing in the backyard of the couple’s Crestview, Florida, residence, according to a news release from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
During a search for the girl, Merrell, 23, told investigators that Hagwell, 29, “had kicked the little girl in the head and locked her in a closet in the master bedroom as punishment the evening of November 9th, because she had ‘gotten out of her car seat,’” according to the release.
A deputy discovered Adelynn’s body in a wooded area around 4:30 p.m.
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Prior to an autopsy on the 3-year-old, Hagwell and Merrell initially were arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse, and Merrell was charged …read more