Awful Details Revealed About The 3-Year-Old Girl Murdered By Her Mom's Boyfriend For Getting Out Of Her Carseat

Cory Hagwell then locked the toddler in a closet.

Adelynn Merrell Murder Crestview Florida Man WAAZ-FM

When police were called to the home of 19-year-old Cory Hagwell and 23-year-old Destinee Merrell on Nov. 10, they were told Merrell's daughter, 3-year-old Adelynn Merrell went missing while playing in their backyard in Crestview, Florida. 

After a long, intense search for the girl, her body was found dumped in the woods that same day. Though the autopsy hasn't yet determined her exact cause of death, police said she suffered apparent head trauma. 


Destinee Merrell told investigators that Hagwell, her live-in boyfriend, had kicked Adelynn in the head and locked her in a closet in the master bedroom as punishment Nov. 9 before because she had "gotten out of her car seat."

RELATED: Man Confessed To Murdering 19-Year-Old Girl With Hatchet After Poking Her Eyes Out Because She Refused His Marriage Proposal

Police said Destinee Merell helped Hagwell lock the 3-year-old in the closet. 

Police also found a 5-year-old boy living with Merrell and Hagwell. During a wellness exam at the hospital, doctors discovered that he was malnutrition and weighed less than 33 pounds. 


Doctors said the "bones in all regions of his body" were exposed. That child also said he saw Hagwell kick Adelynn while she was playing and heard her say "Stop Cory."

According to Hagwell, he said he last saw the girl in a bedroom closet on the floor and not talking. 

Investigators also learned that Destinee Merrell had left Adelynn and another child alone in a locked room on Sept. 1. The two kids broke out of a window and were found by neighbors. 

RELATED: College Student Expelled After Smearing Bodily Fluids On Black Roommate's Belongings And Sticking Her Toothbrush 'Where The Sun Don't Shine'

During the jail interview, Merrell also told investigators Hagwell lost his job about one month ago and began exhibiting escalating violence towards Adelynn," said Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley. "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." 


NWF Daily News

Currently being held in Okaloosa County Jail, Destinee was charged with three counts of child neglect without great bodily harmed and one count of aggravated child battery. 

Hagwell is being held on one count of aggravated child abuse, and murder. 


RELATED: Man Who Confessed To Raping 13-Year-Old Girl Claims Her Father Arranged And Participated In His Daughter's Sexual Assault

Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).