Missing 6-Year-Old Rescued After 4-Year-Old Sister And Mom Found Dead

A missing 6-year-old girl was found near the body of her 4-year-old sister in Mississippi on Thursday, authorities said, after the girls’ mother was found dead in their Louisiana home.

The body of the girls’ mother, 35-year-old Callie Brunett, was discovered in Loranger, a town in Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish. The same day she was found, Daniel Callihan, 36, was arrested across the state line in Jackson, Mississippi on suspicion of killing Brunett and abducting Jalie Brunett, 6, and Erin Brunett, 4, parish sheriff Daniel Edwards said.

Investigators believe Callihan killed Brunett and took the girls on Wednesday, Edwards said in a news conference Friday evening. Brunett’s parents reported her missing late Wednesday night, he said.

The body of Erin Brunett, 4, was found next to her reportedly unharmed older sister after their mother was found dead in Louisiana
The body of Erin Brunett, 4, was found next to her reportedly unharmed older sister after their mother was found dead in Louisiana Facebook / Louisiana State Police

Callihan was arrested Thursday after a brief chase, authorities said, according to local NBC affiliate WDSU.

Edwards said Callihan led investigators to a wooded area, where they found 6-year-old Jalie alive near Erin’s body. 

Callihan had lived in Tangipahoa Parish and had been in an on-again, off-again relationship with Brunett, Edwards previously said, according to WDSU.

There is no reason to believe Callihan is the father of the two girls, Edwards said Friday evening.

Brunett’s car, which was also missing from her home, was pinged by a license plate reader in Jackson, authorities said. Investigators said they tracked down Callihan after receiving a report of a man trying to enter several homes, WDSU reported.

Edwards said Callihan is expected to be charged with first-degree murder in the death of Callie Brunett, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and armed robbery. He said Mississippi authorities said they plan to also charge Callihan with the murder of Erin Brunett.

A woman who investigators believe is an accomplice of Callihan’s was arrested Friday at a south Jackson motel, Edwards said.

Victoria Cox, 32, is expected to be charged with crimes in Mississippi and Louisiana, said Edwards, who declined to elaborate on the exact nature of those charges but said she and Callihan had recently been “intimately involved.”

It is unclear whether the older girl was injured. She was hospitalized before being picked up by her grandparents, who took her home with them to Louisiana, U.S. Marshals said, according to WPAT.

Jackson Police Chief Joseph Wade said it was unclear why Callihan was in south Jackson, but he said the investigation was ongoing, including into whether the house in Jackson near where the girls were found had been used by human traffickers.

Edwards said Friday that he has not learned of any information to substantiate Wade’s speculation that human trafficking played a role in this case.

The FBI has joined the multi-state investigation alongside local law enforcement, the agency said in a statement Friday, calling the killings an “unspeakable tragedy.”

Callihan is currently being held in the Rankin County Jail in Mississippi.