KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - Police arrested two people Monday in connection with the death of a 15-month-old baby girl from Kannapolis. Malaya Heun died in January after suffering "severe abuse," according to Kannapolis Police.
Police say this case has been a No. 1 priority for detectives and Monday, Police Chief Woody Chavis and his detectives said there is no better feeling than having the suspects in custody.
Alisha Carlisle, Heun's aunt, and Carlisle's boyfriend, John Turner, both are charged with first-degree murder, felony child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.
Neither suspect said much Monday, and their demeanor revealed little about how they may be feeling.
The two hardly acknowledged each other when police walked them by one another during processing.
For months, Kannapolis police have been building a case, hoping to eventually convict Carlisle and her boyfriend in the death of 15-month-old Heun.
Chavis said they have been waiting months for this day in this small community.
"It's like Christmas," Chavis said. "You just wouldn't believe how great it feels to know that the person responsible for that brutal assault is in jail and is going to be there a while."
Heun died in January after she was severely beaten, police said. Doctors said she had broken ribs, bruising on her head and body, and internal injuries that led to her death.
"I believe we have a case that is very solid and I have no doubt that it will lead to success in prosecution," Chavis said Monday.
Police said they do not plan to make any more arrests in this case. Investigators don't think Heun's mother had prior knowledge of the abuse that took her daughter's life.
Channel 9 tried but was unable to reach the mother Monday.
Chavis said in his 30 years, this is the worst case of child abuse he's ever seen.
Both suspects will have their first court appearances Tuesday morning.
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