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Court documents reveal contents of letter in Columbia baby death case

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Court documents in the case of a mother and father charged with killing their baby made available Wednesday reveal some details of a letter that police say cracked the case open.

The Boone County Prosecutor's Office charged Staffone R. Fountain, 30, of Independence, Missouri, with first-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse in the death of Samone Daniels. Police believe the girl was between 4 to 5 months old when she died.

Prosecutors have also charged the girl's mother, Lavosha M. Daniels, 30, of Columbia, with abandoning a corpse and first-degree child endangerment.

"She is only charged with child endangerment and abandonment of a corpse.. which tells you that she knew about this the whole time. That maybe she's not the one that actually committed the murder", said former prosecuting attorney, Bill Tackett.

The letter, which was turned in to police earlier this month after being found at the Super 8 motel, is allegedly written by Daniels. In the letter, she writes that one night she awoke to find her daughter, who police identified as Samone Daniels, bleeding from her mouth with a towel wrapped around her head, according to a probable cause statement.

Daniels wrote that Fountain had been sleeping with the infant, according to the statement. The couple tried to perform CPR on the baby and Fountain put the child's body in a book bag and left it behind the store, the statement says. Daniels wrote that she "fled because she was scared and didn't know what to do," police allege.

"She knew about it right and that's where the abandonment comes in. But that he actually committed the murder and that's the separation. Now those charges could be upped later but in this case I don't see that", said Tackett.  

Police said in the statement that Samone is the only one of Lavosha Daniels' eight children who was unaccounted for. There has been no known activity on Samone's social security number, according to the statement. Samone had a twin brother who was given up for adoption, the statement says.

The Columbia Police Department announced Tuesday afternoon that officers had arrested Fountain and Daniels in the girl's death. Police discovered the infant's remains behind McKnight Tire on North Providence Road on Aug. 15, 2019. Police said at a news conference Tuesday that the remains may have been there since 2017.

Police said a break in the investigation came after the letter was discovered.

Daniels was in the Boone County Jail on Wednesday morning without bond. Police said Fountain was arrested in St. Joseph but he wasn't on the jail roster Wednesday morning.

A judge read Daniels the charges against her at her initial hearing Wednesday afternoon. A bond hearing is scheduled for next week.

Article Topic Follows: Crime
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Zachary Farwell

Zachary Farwell is the assignment editor and former senior producer at ABC 17 News.

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