A Missouri man was charged Tuesday with kidnapping the 4-year-old child of a woman who was killed and left in a suitcase on the side of the road in the southwestern part of the state.
The woman’s three children were later found in Des Moines.
Mahamud Tooxoow Mahamed, a 37-year-old Somali national who lives in Noel, Missouri, was charged in federal court with kidnapping a child across state lines after authorities say he brought the woman’s three children to Iowa after her death.
It does not appear Mahamed is facing charges directly related to the killing of 25-year-old Jessica McCormack of Noel. Mahamed is not in custody.
Authorities say McCormack was killed and stuffed into a suitcase which was left on a hillside. The woman’s body was found by a passing bicyclist on July 29.
Days later, the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office announced that it was able to identify McCormack as the deceased, but that her three young children (all under 5 years old) were missing.
According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, Mahamed is the father of at least one of McCormack’s children. He allegedly showed up to an associate’s home in Des Moines on Aug. 5 with all three children.
Three days later, the complaint says, Mahamed left in the middle of the night with a note saying he could no longer care for the children.
Investigators confirmed with the father of McCormack’s oldest child that Mahamed did not have his consent to take the 4-year-old outside the state of Missouri.
A news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri says Mahamed is not in federal custody and is a fugitive from justice. He does not have an attorney listed for this case.
Federal prosecutors say the last time McCormack was seen alive was July 16 when law enforcement responded to a call at her home. Mahamed was also present at that time.
Iowa officials said last week that they were working on safe and appropriate placements for the children.