Mother of missing 5-year-old Colorado girl arrested on suspicion of child abuse resulting in death | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

Maha Li was reported missing in Aurora Tuesday.
Maha Li was reported missing in Aurora Tuesday. 

The apparent remains of a missing 5-year-old girl were found in a closet inside her Aurora apartment and her mother has been arrested as a suspect in the child’s death.

Maha Li Hobbs was reported missing Tuesday and police released a photo, in a Twitter post, of her mother, Alexus Tanielle Nelson, 27, asking the public whether they had seen the pair.

On Thursday the missing child notice was canceled and police announced they arrested Nelson on investigation of child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with physical evidence after detectives found human remains of a child overnight Wednesday in Nelson’s apartment.

Interim police Chief Art Acevedo appeared Thursday afternoon at a news conference on the incident. Acevedo, emotional at times, referred to the victim as “our beautiful little girl” and “our little angel.”

The remains were found in a closet after investigators served a search warrant, said Acevedo, who went to the apartment Wednesday night, in part, to support investigators with the grueling task.

“It was tough to see our cops who had to find that little angel in the condition she was in,” Acevedo said.

Police did not identify Maha Li in the Thursday news release because she is a minor and because the remains discovered haven’t been positively identified. The remains will be identified by the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office.

According to the release, police on Tuesday received a 911 call from out of state by a grandparent who was concerned about the child’s safety after receiving concerning text messages from Nelson via text.

At the news conference Thursday afternoon, Acevedo said police were first called on Sunday night by the girl’s maternal grandmother, who lives out of state. Officers went to the apartment in the 1000 block of South Elkhart Way, “but didn’t develop information” on a crime or a case at that time.

A second call on Tuesday, also by the girl’s maternal grandmother led to the investigation and arrest. During the second contact, on Tuesday, Nelson told police that “she gave her daughter up for adoption but couldn’t provide officers with any records,” police said.

Investigators couldn’t independently verify the adoption through state records, prompting them to arrest Nelson at that time for attempting to influence a public servant and making false statements, police said.

At the Thursday news conference, Acevedo said Nelson “made intentional misleading statements” in an attempt to derail the investigation.

According to an arrest affidavit on the initial charge of attempt to influence a public servant, Nelson told an investigator, who was inquiring about the girl’s whereabouts, that she had used a local adoption agency and that an adoption took place about a month ago.

The investigator contacted the agency, which had no such records. Nelson’s adoption story unraveled and she was arrested.


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