A CHILLING note has helped police solve the mystery murder of a baby whose decomposing remains were found in a backpack hidden inside a tire.
Columbia Police have announced the arrest of the mother and father of “Baby Doe,” who was found dead in 2019.
Staffone Fountain and Lavosha Daniels are both in custody, Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones announced on June 28.
Fountain was arrested by the St. Joseph Police Department while Daniels was arrested by the US Marshal Department in St. Louis.
Both remain in custody without bond.
The child has been identified as Samone J. Daniels, who was about four or five months old when she died, Jones said.
The dead infant was discovered in the tire on August 15, 2019, but officials believe her remains may have been there for two years.
Samone’s remains were so decomposed that she was unable to be easily identified when she was discovered.
Columbia police have worked with an anthropologist and, in 2020, partnered with a private lab to conduct genealogy testing.
Now, a medical examiner and the anthropologist will work to determine Samone’s official cause of death.
A new lead in the case assisted police with their investigation.
A member of the Columbia, Missouri community shared a letter with police on June 14 containing information about the case.
The letter, which was found at a Super 8 Hotel in Columbia, was allegedly from Daniels and was addressed to police.
A probable cause letter obtained by the Columbia Missourian revealed the letter’s contents.
Daniels allegedly returned from a work shift and fed the infant before going to bed.
She awoke hours later, finding the infant with a towel around her neck.
Blood was also coming from the infant’s mouth, according to the statement.
The letter indicates that Fountain remained with the infant while Daniels slept.
Daniels performed CPR on the child and then fled the scene.
It was Fountain who allegedly placed the body in the backpack which was then left at McKnight Tire.
Fountain has been charged with first-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. Daniels faces abandonment of a corpse and first-degree abandonment of a child charges, Jones said.
Daniels reportedly had eight children, including Samone’s twin brother who had been given up for adoption.
“One of our detectives said it best: ‘Our number one goal was to give this child a name and honor her memory. That’s happened today,’” Jones said.