In a chilling revelation, the remains of a toddler, Oaklee Snow, were discovered in a dresser drawer in an abandoned house, leading to a series of charges against her mother and her mother's boyfriend.
The tragic tale of Oaklee Snow, originally believed to be two years old, has taken a grim turn. Prosecutors now believe that the child died just shy of her second birthday. The mother of the child, Madison Marshall, and her boyfriend, Roan Waters, are now facing severe charges related to the child's death.
Fox59 News reports that Marshall faces multiple felony charges, including two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a Level 1 felony, along with neglect resulting in serious injury, a Level 3 felony. Waters, on the other hand, faces one count of murder along with two counts of neglect leading to death and other charges.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears painted a horrifying picture of Oaklee's short life. He said, "Her time on this earth was very much defined by adults abusing her and the allegation here is that abuse eventually led to her death."
Marshall and Waters are accused of abducting Oaklee and her baby brother from their father's Oklahoma home on January 19. The pair reportedly abandoned Oaklee's brother in an Indianapolis drug house where family members eventually found the baby boy and reported his abandonment to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
A witness reportedly spotted Marshall and Waters leaving the Indianapolis drug house with "what looked like a child wrapped in a blanket," documents revealed. The witness said the child did not appear to be moving, talking, or crying. Investigators previously believed that Oaklee was likely dead and that Marshall and Waters disposed of her body somewhere in Indiana.
In the new charging documents, investigators detail how a "hysterical and sobbing" Marshall led officers to an abandoned home in the outskirts of Morgantown where the remains of a child were found in the bottom of a dresser drawer. The remains were badly decomposed but appeared to be a blonde-haired young girl, the documents said.
Positive identification of the child's remains has not yet been made due to the decomposed state. The Morgan County Coroner said identification could take two to four weeks.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said:
"This child was the victim of abuse over the course of multiple days. This was not an isolated incident. The Probable Cause affidavit indicates that there was abuse that took place in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Indianapolis. This child suffered for a very significant period of time and on Feb. 9 the culmination of that abuse led to Oaklee tragically losing her life."
Marshall reportedly told police how Waters frequently abused Oaklee and had often hit the girl and even "choked her out" on occasion. He would reportedly beat her for things as simple as "holding a fork wrong," according to Marshall.
Marshall allegedly told police that the abuse was so bad that Oaklee wouldn't eat around Waters. Marshall claimed that if she tried to step in and explain that Oaklee was only a toddler then Waters would then turn his abuse toward her.
Oaklee Snow died on Feb. 9, according to the court documents. Marshall told police she recalled her and Waters being awoken by Oaklee crying because she was hungry. This is when the couple was reportedly staying at the "trap house" on Albany Street in Indianapolis.
Marshall accused Waters of throwing Oaklee on the floor in response to her crying with the girl's head impacting the ground and causing bruising. Marshall said later Waters was shouting at Oaklee to bounce on a large rubber ball despite the child being too small for the toy. Waters reportedly shouted for Marshall sometime later with the mother running in to find Waters holding Oaklee, who was struggling to breathe.
Marshall claims to have tried to call 911 at one point, realizing her daughter was dying, but told police Waters slapped the phone from her hand. Waters allegedly then wrapped the child in a blanket and the couple left the home. Marshall reportedly held Oaklee in her lap while Marshall drove them to Morgan County where Waters disposed of the body.
Marshall already faced felony charges of neglect and assisting a criminal. She is being held in the Marion County Jail on a $200,000 bond.
Witnesses told investigators that Marshall accompanied Waters to Colorado after the killing, was returned to Indianapolis and then placed on a bus to North Carolina where she was arrested and returned to Marion County last month.
Waters was arrested in Colorado on March 3 after police were called to a hotel and discovered he had outstanding warrants for child abuse, domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor out of Oklahoma.
Waters has been accused of abusing Oaklee in the past by striking the young girl in the mouth and causing trauma to her lips, prompting the charges in his warrant.
Mears said investigators will rely on forensic evidence, such as the positive response of a cadaver dog on the couple's vehicle, as well as recorded jail phone calls from Waters to family members after he was arrested in Colorado on the Oklahoma child abuse charges.
"You also had individuals who are in custody who were more than willing to talk about their experiences and what occurred over jail phone calls," said the prosecutor. "The individual that we are accusing of murder was in custody in Colorado for much of the last couple of months. There's been a lot of phone calls. There's been a lot of discussion with various family members and certainly that evidence is something that we intend to present at trial."
Neighbors on Albany Street said the Indy house where police think the murder occurred is owned by Waters' mother and has been a source of trouble for years.
"I'm pretty sure they were probably selling weed or drugs or some type of stuff out of there," said neighbor Duane De Clue who spotted investigators returning to search as recently as this morning.
"Terrible situation," De Clue said. "Wish it could have been avoided. Wish there was something I could have done to intervene but I didn't know things were that dramatic over there. I know they fuss and fight and argue and sell all of their stuff but I didn't know there was children directly involved in any of that stuff."
This tragic story continues to unfold as the investigation progresses. For more details, visit the original source at Fox 59.
The Morgan County Coroner’s Office classified her death as a “homicide of unspecified means.” This leaves a cloud of uncertainty over the exact circumstances that led to the tragic end of Oaklee's life.
While the cause of death remains unspecified, the charges against Marshall and Waters suggest a history of abuse and neglect. The couple's actions following Oaklee's death, including the disposal of her body in an abandoned house, further underscore the horrific nature of this case.
As the investigation continues, the community, the authorities, and all those who have been touched by Oaklee's story await further clarity on the circumstances surrounding her death. The hope is that justice will be served for Oaklee, a young life tragically cut short.