BREAKING: Autopsy Reveals Cause of 3-Year Old Death


UPDATE November 12, 11:33 a.m.

An autopsy has been completed on a 3-year old girl who was found dead in the woods in Crestview on November 10th.

According to Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the autopsy revealed the child died from blunt force trauma causing a skull fracture to the back of her head.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has added a charge of first degree murder to 29-year old Cory Hagwell.  An additional charge, accessory after the fact to murder, is being added to the child’s mother, 23-year old Destinee Merrell.

The following is information form the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office:

The OCSO was called to 4700 Bobolink Way November 10th after three year old Adelynn Merrell was reported missing by the couple. They said they’d last seen her playing in the back yard and believed she’d been kidnapped. An intense search was conducted but deputies were struck by how calm and unemotional Merrell appeared. As they continued to talk to her, she ultimately told them Hagwell, her live-in boyfriend, had kicked the little girl in the head and locked her in a closet, then took the child’s body to the woods after she was found dead. In an interview at the Okaloosa County jail, Merrell said the abuse happened around 6:30 a.m., but she never checked on Adelynn in the closet until around 11:30 a.m. They called the OCSO with the concocted missing child/abduction story about an hour later.

OCSO Investigators say during the course of their ongoing investigation over the past two days, Merrell and Hagwell have given conflicting stories as to exactly what happened. A child in the home however said he saw Hagwell kick Adelynn while she was playing and he heard Merrell say “Stop Cory”. He says he also saw the little girl in a bedroom closet on the floor and not talking – and never saw or heard her again.

During the jail interview Merrell also told investigators Hagwell lost his job about one month ago, and began exhibiting escalating violence towards Adelynn. Merrell described hearing thuds and the sounds of Adelynn crying fifteen to sixteen times over that period. She said Hagwell would also withhold food from Adelynn and put her in the closet for extended periods of time.

Both Merrell and Hagwell are being held without bond at the Okaloosa County Jail.

*Update as of 9:20 a.m.*:

Two have been charged in connection in the death of a 3-year old girl east of Crestview in Okaloosa County, Florida.

According to an arrest report from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, 23-year old Destinee Merrell told investigators that her boyfriend, 29-year old Cory Hagwell, repeatedly kicked the little girl in the head and locked her in a closet in the master bedroom on November 9th as a form of punishment for “getting out of her car seat.”

Hagwell is charged with aggravated child abuse at this time, and Merrell is charged with aggravated child abuse and three counts of child neglect.


Crestview, Fla. (WKRG) — The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a suspicious death of a 3-year-old girl east of Crestview.

Deputies say they have two people in custody for questioning.

According to OCSO, deputies were called to a home on Bobolink Way east of Crestview around 12:30 p.m. in response to a report of a missing child, however the investigation quickly turned in a more sinister direction.

The toddler’s body was discovered around 4:30 p.m. Friday in a wooded area off Highway 90 near the Walton County line, deputies say.

The sheriff’s office says that investigators are actively working the case and no additional details are expected to be released tonight, however an update will be provided once additional information in the case is gathered and confirmed.

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