Missing child’s caretaker charged with capital murder after body found in basement of Meridian home

Missing child’s caretaker charged with capital murder after body found in basement of Meridian home

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WLBT/WTOK) - Meridian police have charged a woman with capital murder after investigators say she led officers to what is believed to be the body of a small child.

According to WTOK, Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler confirmed on Wednesday that a black bag containing a white bag sealed with duct tape was found in the basement at the home near the intersection of Myrtle and Crabapple Drive.

Investigators believe the body is of five-year old Jakie Toole, a special needs child, who was reported as missing to police last week. Even though the missing person’s report was filed last week, investigators say the little boy was last seen in April.

Celeste Smith was charged with capital murder in the case on Thursday. She’s also charged with two counts of child neglect.

Police say Smith, who was Jakie’s caretaker at one point, led officers to the home. Jakie’s mother handed [him] and her other child over to Smith while she was away. Investigators say the other child is fine, but Jakie was never heard from again. Police added that they’ve interviewed Smith on several occasions and have gotten different stories.

5-year-old Jakie Toole is special needs and has been missing since April.
5-year-old Jakie Toole is special needs and has been missing since April. (Source: WTOK)

“She led us to that residence on Crabapple Drive and showed us several locations prior to showing us to the right location, inside the residence, where the child supposedly could be found,” said Chief Dubose.

Jakie is described as having special needs. He cannot walk or communicate well.

The bags and possible remains have been sent to the crime lab in Jackson. The coroner said the bag won’t be opened and analyzed until Friday.

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