Letter found at hotel helps identify baby found dead in tire in 2019, Missouri cops say

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Almost three years ago, tire shop employees reported finding “a small backpack inside a tire that contained the decomposed remains of an infant,” Missouri police said.

An autopsy was unable to determine how old the baby was, the child’s sex or a cause of death. Investigators were also unable to determine how long “Baby Doe” might have been dead before being found in the backpack with their clothing.

There were “little to no leads” that helped determine what happened to Baby Doe for years.

That was until June 14, 2022 when the Columbia Police Department learned of a letter found at a local hotel. That letter provided information that helped identify the baby and two suspects in her death, according to a June 28 news release.

“One of our detectives said it best. Our number one goal was to give this child a name and honor her memory, and that has happened,” Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones said in a statement. “The child’s name is Samone J. Daniels.”

Authorities believe she might have been 4 or 5 months old when she was killed.

Two suspects were arrested in her death on June 28 — Staffone R. Fountain, 30, of St. Joseph and Lavosha Monique Daniels, 28, of St. Louis.

They were Samone’s parents, according to KOMU.

Fountain was charged with first-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse, police said. Daniels was charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and abandonment of a corpse.

They are both being held without bond.

Jones said the department is indebted to other agencies, as well as the community.

“They reported the incident in 2019,” he said. “Because this stuck in Columbia’s memory, a letter came to our attention. Samone had a lot of people pulling for her.”

The investigation into Samone’s death is ongoing. If you have any additional information, authorities ask you to call the Columbia Police Department at 573-874-7652.

Tipsters who would like to remain anonymous should contact CrimeStoppers at 573-875-8477.

Columbia is about 130 miles east of Kansas City.

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