Mother, live-in boyfriend sentenced in death of 3-year-old girl in Okaloosa Co.

Okaloosa County

Mother, live-in boyfriend sentenced in death of 3-year-old girl

CRESTVIEW, Fla. (WKRG) — The investigation of a young girl’s death back in 2017 has finally ended with multiple prison sentences.

Destinee Merrell entered a guilty plea for Accessory After the Fact to a First Degree Felony and two counts of Child Neglect. Merrell’s 3-year-old daughter Adelynn was found dead by Okaloosa County deputies on Nov. 9, 2017.

Destinee’s live-in boyfriend Cory Hagwell was also charged in the case after the autopsy results showed blunt force trauma to be the cause of Adelynn’s death.

Adelynn was found in the woods behind a home on Bobobink Way after Merrell called in a missing child report.

In the early investigation, both Merrell and Hagwell blamed each other when interviewed by detectives. Merrell eventually told deputies a different story, leading to the charge of Accessory After the Fact.

Merrell told officials she did not see what happened to cause Adelynn’s death, according to the State of Florida’s report. Merrell said she heard a “thud” when Hagwell put Adelynn in “time out” by locking her inside a bathroom. Four or five hours later, Merrell said she went to check on the girl and found her dead.

Merrell will serve 10 years behind prison bars. Hagwell entered a guilty plea and will serve 30 years in prison for Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child and two counts of Child Neglect.

The State of Florida’s office originally filed for the death penalty against Hagwell, but deposition from another young child in the home did not provide enough information to seek it through.

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