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Officials: Loranger woman had 'multiple sharp-force injuries,' daughter may have died of suffocation in Mississippi

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LORANGER — The Tangipahoa Parish coroner said Monday that a Loranger woman killed last week before the abduction of her two young daughters died from "multiple sharp-force injuries." Her 4-year-old daughter was possibly suffocated, a Mississippi police chief said.


Tangipahoa Parish Coroner Rick Foster did not say how many times Callie Brunett, 35, may have been stabbed.

The elder Brunett was found dead at her home in eastern Tangipahoa Parish on Thursday morning. Her two daughters were not at home and State Police issued an AMBER alert seeking their safe return. 

Erin Brunett, 4, was found dead in a wooded area near Jackson, Mississippi, later Thursday; her sister, Jalie, 6, was hospitalized briefly and returned home to Tangipahoa Parish on Friday. Erin Brunett's cause of death has not been officially revealed, but Police Chief Joseph Wade believes asphyxiation played a role.

Officials have referred to Erin Brunett as both 3-years-old and 4-years-old; the Jackson Police Department called her a 4-year-old.

Daniel Callihan, 36, has been arrested and accused of both deaths. A woman believed to be his girlfriend, Victoria Cox, 32, was arrested as well. Both are being charged with capital murder and sexual battery in Jackson, the department said in a press conference Monday. Callihan is also expected to face homicide and kidnapping charges in Louisiana.

At a court hearing Monday, a Mississippi judge refused to set a bond amount for Cox on the homicide charge and set one at $500,000 for the sexual battery count. 

The FBI will take the lead for the remainder of the case because the kids were transported across state lines, the police department said, but this doesn't rule out further charges in Mississippi.

Wade said that extradition is being considered for Callihan and Cox due to the multiple charges in multiple jurisdictions, but nothing has been decided. 

There are still more questions in the investigation, Wade said, including a motive and what exact role Cox played in the kidnappings and death.

"He’s a bad actor, bad guy, bad person. She’s a bad person. I guess that’s the motive. Bad people doing bad things. It is horrific and sickening what they did last week," Wade said. “We want to know what he did there. And how and why do you come to Jackson, Mississippi? You could have gone anywhere else east or west but you come here...Right now I have more questions than answers."

Callihan previously said he "had no reason for what I did," during a perp walk on Friday. He then repeated that he was sober before being unable to decide whether he was on or off Lexapro and that he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

“He’s not denying anything. He has implicated the young lady that we charged. We feel we have a very strong case against both of them,” Wade said at the press conference.

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