LAS VEGAS (AP) — An Arizona investigator said Thursday he is confident a baby left at a Las Vegas-area church is the same one that authorities have for weeks been searching for across three states.
Mohave County attorney’s office investigator Steve Auld said authorities tracked down the people who dropped off the baby at the Portals to Glory Pentecostal church near Las Vegas last week.
The reported parents, Nicholios Nealy and Octavia Jackson, remained jailed in Arizona, and face felony charges including custodial interference and perjury.
The case began in April, when the couple’s three other reported children were taken into protective custody while the family lived in Arizona near the Nevada border. It was during a related hearing with Jackson that investigators discovered she had given birth in February in Las Vegas. The couple also previously lived in San Diego.
Jackson was then arrested after denying that she had given birth and refusing to provide information about the girl.
Auld said the father around June 5 dropped off the baby with a family in the Las Vegas area he knew through a local Black Hebrew Israelites church.
The three people who cared for the baby are not related to the parents. It’s not clear if the people will face any charges for harboring the girl because they have been cooperative with police, Auld said.
Full paternity testing and DNA confirmation are ongoing, with results expected in two weeks, which will now be used in the parents’ criminal case. Auld said he was 99.5 percent sure it’s the same child.
The testing “allows us to be sure that we have the correct baby. The baby doesn’t even have a name or birth certificate,” Auld said. “With no one telling us the truth, we needed some scientific evidence to back ourselves up.”
Authorities believe the parents tried to hide the baby so that Arizona state officials would not take her into protective custody, Auld said.
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