An Alabama man has been arrested after the remains of his five-week-old son, whose disappearance left authorities perplexed, were found on Wednesday shortly after his parents gave a press conference in which they begged for the baby's safe return.
Caleb Whisnand, 32, was arrested on Thursday and was charged with reckless manslaughter in connection to the death of his son, Caleb "C.J." Whisnand Jr., the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office announced. He will be held without bond. Angela Gardner, the child's 28-year-old mother, has not been charged with any crime.
'For Anybody that has any Information...It Would Mean a Lot'
Hours before his arrest, Whisnand and Gardner spoke to the media about their son's disappearance outside the Montgomery County Sheriff's office on Wednesday.
"For anybody that has any information...I don't remember a lot, but I did remember I was breaking up, ya know, with the cops. If anybody's got anything, any places that I could have gone, you know who you are," Whisnand said in video footage from the press conference.
"Please help find him, please," Gardner said, before Whisnand added," It would mean a lot, it would mean everything to us. Family isn't the same without family."
Watch the full press conference below:
Whisnand Called 911 Minutes After CJ Was Last Seen on CCTV Footage
According to authorities, they received a 911 call around 10:45 p.m. on Monday evening from Whisnand, who was at a Circle K convenience store at a gas station on Wetumpka Highway. The call was about a missing baby who weighed 10 pounds and was last seen in a camouflage onesie.
When asked by a reporter when they realized that the baby had gone missing, Gardner said she had been at home on Monday with her 2-year-old child when Whisnand took CJ to the gas station. "He went to go pay gas at the gas station and realized he was gone. He let the police know, and me know, that he was missing... Please find him, please," she said.
However, when asked about the last time the whole family was together, Whisnand said it was Saturday night when "we were all together sleeping" before strangely adding, "And I don't remember much."
Capt. Trent Beasley, who is in charge of investigations at the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, said he could not explain why the couple said they were last together with their baby on Saturday and noted that Whisnand had called 911 four minutes after the baby was last seen on surveillance footage at the gas station.
Whisnand Under Indictment on Other Reckless Endangerment, Drug Charges
Shortly after the press conference, C.J.'s body was found buried in a remote wooded area of Lowndes County, about thirty minutes from where he was last seen.. His cause of death has not been released but on Thursday, authorities announced that prosecutors had upgraded Whisnand's charge to capital murder following his son's autopsy.
At the time of Whisnand's arrest, authorities said he was already under indictment in an unrelated case on reckless endangerment, possession of drug paraphernalia, and meth and heroin possession. Court records show Whisnand was arrested after being pulled over in June 2020 for driving erratically. At the time of the incident, Gardner and an infant were also in the vehicle.