A 27-year-old Colorado mother is under arrest and may soon face murder charges after the remains of a child were found in a closet at her apartment this week, as investigators searched for her missing 5-year-old daughter Maha Li Hobbs.
According to the Aurora Police Department, Alexus Tanielle Nelson was initially taken into custody Tuesday on a charge for attempting to influence a public servant, after the suspect allegedly lied to cops about putting the missing girl up for adoption. Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Thursday that the girl’s grandmother in Georgia called Tuesday to report that Nelson had said “concerning” things by text.
“The charges stem from about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, when Aurora911 received a call from an out of state person who reported their daughter, Nelson, had made concerning statements to them by text. The caller also raised concerns about the safety of their granddaughter,” Aurora Police said in a press release. “Officers responded to Nelson’s apartment in the 1000 block of South Elkhart Way. Nelson told police she gave her daughter up for adoption but couldn’t provide officers with any records. Investigators couldn’t independently verify the adoption through state records, prompting Nelson’s initial arrest for attempting to influence a public servant.”
Chief Acevedo elaborated that Nelson was charged at first “basically for lying to police officers about the truth.”
“The mother actually made some very intentional misleading statements to our personnel who, after they were able to confirm that the statements were absolutely false and had evidence of that fact, made an initial arrest,” he said. Nelson had custody of the child and the girl’s father lived out of state, Acevedo said.
By Wednesday, a search warrant was executed at the apartment and police discovered the worst case scenario. Though authorities have not yet officially positively identified the remains, charges of child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased human body, and tampering with physical evidence were filed Thursday against Nelson.
The police chief acknowledged that it seemed the child victim had been in the closet for a while.
“We found remains that we believe to be that of a young child. Unfortunately, due to the condition of those remains a positive identification could not be made,” Acevedo said.
“We believe that we actually found her,” Acevedo added, however, referring to the deceased as “our beautiful little girl” and “our missing child.”
The police chief was confident enough to say multiple times that there’s a “high probability” murder charges will follow.
“I would venture to say that there’s a high probability that murder charges will end up being filed in this case at some point in the near future,” he said. “There’s a high probability of that.”
Acevedo said he went to the scene and saw the impact of the case on the community and the investigating cops who “had to find that little angel in the condition they found her.”
He also credited the Hobbs’ grandmother — Nelson’s mother — for doing the right thing.
“Our hearts go out to the family. Think about this grandma. She’s just lost a grandchild and now she loses a daughter as well,” Acevedo noted. “But grandma did the right thing, and for that I am grateful.”
The police chief said that the grandmother’s decision to call cops will ensure a “proper burial sooner rather than later, instead of [the victim] being stuffed in some closet.”
Acevedo encouraged the community to be “vigilant” and look out for their neighbors.
“Please do not hesitate to come forward,” he said, in the hopes that watchful — even “nosy” — members of the public may help prevent a similar case from happening again.
Nelson was held on $100,000 bond at Nelson at the Arapahoe County Detention Center, authorities said. The bond number would doubtless rise if or when murder charges are filed.
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