August 11, 2020

Neglect charges dropped against owner of home where 5-year-old’s body found hidden in bag

Authorities in Mississippi dropped have neglect charges against the owner of a home where a 5-year-old boy was found dead in September.

The boy’s caregiver remains charged with capital murder, and his mother with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The body of Jakie Toole was found Sept. 11, wrapped in a bag in the basement of Alicia Thames’ home in Meridian, where his caregiver, Celeste Louise Smith, had been living.

Two charges of contributing to the neglect of a minor had been filed in October against Thames, a friend of the caregiver. But the Meridian Star reported that Police Chief Benny Dubose said a Child Protective Services investigation found no wrongdoing by Thames, and Municipal Court Judge Robbie Jones dismissed the charges on Thursday.

Jakie was reported missing Sept. 4, but was last seen in April. Police said an autopsy showed his death was caused by blunt force trauma. He had burns and broken and cracked ribs.

Smith, 35, directed police to the body. She was charged with capital murder and two counts of child neglect.

Police believe Smith abused Jakie and another child in her care. Their mother, Teasia Warren, 24, was charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Smith and Warren’s cases await presentation to a Lauderdale County grand jury.