- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The mother of a 4-year-old girl who was found dead tried to regain custody of her daughter from the girl’s guardian several months ago, Omaha police said.

Officers called to the home of Chelsey Cook on Tuesday night found the body of Alicia Morrow. Cook, 22, was arrested the next day.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Thursday that she will be charged with intentional child abuse. Cook did not have an attorney listed in online court records.

The preliminary autopsy results were inconclusive, so the girl’s cause of death remains unclear, Kleine said.

There is no Douglas County record of Cook seeking legal guardianship, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1ZbLlCU ). A police incident report said the girl’s mother signed an informal agreement with Cook in December 2014 to have Cook care for Alicia. Cook told police in September that Alicia’s mom, Lakisha Morrow, was belligerent in asking for Alicia’s return.

Morrow told the newspaper that Cook offered to care for Alicia when Morrow was homeless. Morrow said she thought Alicia would be better off staying with Cook.

Morrow said she can’t understand why Cook wouldn’t give back Alicia.

“I did not abandon my baby,” Morrow said. “I wanted her back and I tried to get her back. Now she’s dead.”

Some of Cook’s relatives told the newspaper that the little girl didn’t attend a Tuesday family gathering. Cook told them the girl was at home.

Cook, her father and another relative went to her home later that night. They found the girl’s body, and one of them called 911. Her father, Kevin Cook, said the furnace wasn’t working and that it was cold inside the home.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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