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Boyfriend kills girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter by kicking her in the head because she came out of car seat

By William Martin 1:00 PM November 12, 2017
Destinee Merrell and Cory Hagwell

A cruel man killed his girlfriend’s child because she came out of a car seat, according to police in Florida.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said that the 3-year-old Crestview child was found dumped in woods on Friday after the toddler’s mother confessed that her live-in boyfriend had killed the little girl while punishing her for getting out of her car seat.

The police were called to 4700 Bobolink Way, at around 12:30 p.m., on Friday, after Adelynn Merrell was reported missing by the couple.

They said they had last seen her playing in the backyard.

An intense search was conducted.

After several hours, the mother of the girl, 23-year-old Destinee Merrell, told investigators that her boyfriend, 29-year-old Cory Hagwell, kicked the little girl in the head and locked her in a closet in the master bedroom as punishment for getting out of her car seat.

A police officer found Adelynn’s body in a wooded area off Palmetto Avenue, at around 4:30 p.m.

She had apparent head trauma but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause and manner of death.

Hagwell was charged with aggravated child abuse.

The toddler’s mother Destinee was charged with aggravated child abuse and three counts of child neglect.

Investigators say she took part in locking Adelynn in the closet.

Both still face murder charges.

Destinee’s other child was taken to the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center for a wellness exam.

A doctor found that the 5-year-old suffered from malnutrition, weighing less than 33 pounds, with “bones in all regions of his body exposed.”

In addition, investigators determined that the mother had left Adelynn and her other child alone and locked in a room in their home several months ago.

The youngsters broke a window and were found by neighbors.