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Kidnapped girl dead; sibling found with suspect in Mississippi after mom is killed in Loranger

1 month 6 days 4 hours ago Thursday, June 13 2024 Jun 13, 2024 June 13, 2024 4:26 PM June 13, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

LORANGER — A 3-year-old girl missing from her home in rural Tangipahoa Parish was found dead in Jackson, Mississippi, on Thursday hours after her mother was found dead at their residence, the sheriff's office said. Her sibling, also kidnapped from the home, was injured.

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Law officers identified the suspect as Daniel Callihan, 36, and said he had formerly dated the girls' mother, Callie Brunett, 35. They were in and out of a relationship.

Jackson Police said it appeared the child, Erin Brunett, was killed after police had tracked Callihan into Mississippi.

"Once he realized law enforcement knew where he was, he tried to do away with the children," Chief Joseph Wade said. "Thank God one of them survived and the grandparents are on their way to Jackson, Mississippi."

According to officials, Callie Brunett's mother called the police to say she hadn't been able to call her daughter or the children in 24 hours. Deputies went through the standard missing adults procedure by going by the home and pinging her phone, but did not go inside her home based on information provided by the mother and Callie Brunett's car was not in the driveway.

At 8 a.m. on Thursday, Callie Brunett's father broke down the door and found his dead daughter in the bedroom in a "bloody scene."

Louisiana State Police was contacted at 9:30 a.m. to advise of the missing children, but the Amber Alert was not issued until 12:30 p.m.

According to investigators, Callihan was driving Callie Brunett's car and a license plate reader in the suburb of Byram, Mississippi, alerted law officers and the U.S. Marshals Service to his general whereabouts.

Travis said someone in Jackson noticed someone pulling on door knobs at homes and went to investigate. The person ran away, and law officers later found him in a car with 6-year-old Jalie Brunett. Erin's body was 30-to-40 feet away in a wooded area. Tangipahoa officials initially said the girl was 4 years old.

Wade said he didn't know the cause of death, nor why Callihan traveled to Mississippi. He noted that cages had been found in the area and speculated on whether there was a larger plot.

"Based on the crime scene, what it looks like, this may be the place where there has been some human trafficking done," Wade said. "We see cages, small animal cages. This is very, very disturbing to me as a police chief and as a father to witness and see what I saw."

"We don't know if there are other children in the woods," Wade said. "If this individual has used this location as a location to traffic children and abduct children, we want to make sure we have that evidence to make sure him and whoever else is prosecuted for this heinous, heinous, terrible act."

Callie Brunett and her daughters were last seen Tuesday night. A search began Wednesday night.

The FBI is now involved in the investigation.

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