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COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia police have identified a baby found dead outside a tire store in 2019 and prosecutors have charged the child's parents in connection with her death.
Police identified the baby as Samone Daniels and said the child was about 4 to 5 months old when it died. The parents -- Staffone Fountain, 30, of St. Joseph, Missouri, and Lavosha Daniels, 28, of St. Louis -- have been arrested on warrants for crimes including murder, child endangerment and corpse abandonment. Fountain is in custody in St. Joseph and Daniels is in custody in St. Louis, police said. Each is jailed without bond.
Daniels was charged with first-degree child endangerment and abandoning a corpse, both felonies. Boone County prosecutors charged Fountain with first-degree murder and abandoning a corpse.
Columbia Police Department Chief Geoff Jones said the baby died two years before her remains were discovered. Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter said the baby died at the Red Roof Inn in Columbia.
The breakthrough in the case came when a person turned in a letter found June 14 at the Super 8 motel connecting the parents to the baby's remains, police said. The baby's mother wrote the letter, which was addressed to Columbia police, Hunter said. Both suspects made statements to police, Jones said.
Jones was visibly shaken while giving the information at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. He said the case has taken a toll on investigators. He said the department's first priority was identifying the baby.
"Our No. 1 goal was to give this child a name and honor her memory. That’s happened today," Jones said.
Samone's body was found in August 2019 inside a backpack that was stuffed in a tire outside McKnight Tire, police said. An employee discovered the remains. Investigators conducted dozens of interviews and used lab analysis and other tools in the case, Jones said.
Information about the charges against Fountain and Daniels was not immediately available.