- Associated Press - Saturday, March 11, 2017

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) - A piece of a baby’s skull that could be evidence in the murder trial of the boy’s parents is missing.

The Gadsden Times (https://bit.ly/2mbW7I2 ) reports that during a Thursday court hearing, a prosecutor said that a “relatively small” piece of the skull may have been destroyed and not returned to Etowah County.

Alberto Rivera Jr. and Cassie Cranford Rivera face capital murder charges in the 2013 death of their 18-day-old son. An autopsy showed Micah Lorenzo Rivera suffered at least four skull fractures.

The couple was arrested in 2014 after a forensic anthropologist in Houston reported back to prosecutors. Deputy District Attorney Carol Griffith said there’s been some confusion over where the evidence is. She said the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston indicates the piece of skull was returned to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science. She said she was told it had been sent back to the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office.

Griffith said it appears the “relatively small part of the skull” that was sent to Texas was not retained and may have been destroyed. She said the prosecution is working now to determine what happened to that piece of skull.

She said there are multiple pictures of the evidence and reports from other examinations, and did not know if the testing of the evidence might have damaged it.

Defense lawyer Morgan Cunningham calls the skull piece “critical” and said the defense wants to hire its own expert to examine it.

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Information from: The Gadsden Times, https://www.gadsdentimes.com

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