Alleged accomplice faces death penalty in kidnapping and abuse of 4-year-old girl and 6-year-old sister

Daniel Callihan, Erin Brunett, Victoria Cox

L-R: Daniel Callihan is arrested in Mississippi on June 13, 2024 (Tangipahoa Parish (La.) Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana); 4-year-old Erin Brunett (Amber Alert photo); Victoria Cox (Hinds County Jail mug shot)

The accused accomplice in the kidnapping and death of Louisiana 4-year-old Erin Brunett has been indicted in Mississippi on a capital murder charge and for allegedly conspiring to kidnap and sexually abuse the victim’s sister, a 6-year-old rescued from a pit on the property behind a dilapidated home in mid-June.

Victoria Cox, 32, faces a potential death sentence if convicted in Erin’s death and in the kidnapping and sexual assault of Erin’s sister, identified as “J.B.” in a criminal complaint. According to prosecutors, Cox, along with her purported boyfriend Daniel Callihan, 36, killed Erin “while engaged in the commission of the crime of the kidnapping.” That same complaint alleges that Cox and Callihan kidnapped J.B. that same day and later sexually assaulted her.

As Law&Crime previously reported, law enforcement made the grim discovery of Erin’s corpse in a wooded part of Jackson, Mississippi, on June 13. The crime scene was allegedly linked to possible “human trafficking.” The girls’ mother, 35-year-old Callie Brunett, was found murdered at her home in Loranger, Louisiana, earlier that day, police said.

The Mississippi property where Erin Brunett was found dead

The Mississippi property where Erin Brunett was found dead and her sister was rescued (federal complaint); Daniel Callihan (right inset) mug shot (Rankin County Sheriff’s Office)

In remarks reported by local Fox affiliate WVUE, Jackson Police Chief Joseph Wade said investigators not only found the 4-year-old girl murdered by a “coward,” but also uncovered evidence that suggested Erin and her older sister were located at a crime scene which “may be the place where there has been some human trafficking done.”

“We see cages, small animal cages,” Wade reportedly said. “This is very, very disturbing to me as a police chief and as a father to witness and see what I saw.”

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards reportedly said separately that Callihan “was not a complete stranger” to the Brunetts, since he used to date Callie Brunett.

Callie Brunett with Erin Brunett

Callie Brunett with Erin Brunett (left) in a GoFundMe photo; Callie (right) as seen on her Facebook page.

“What would lead him to kill Callie and abduct the children, I simply can’t say,” the sheriff reportedly said.

Investigators soon concluded that Callihan may not have acted alone, and allege that Cox — allegedly his girlfriend — also played a role in the killings.

A federal complaint against Callihan provides grim details of what investigators believe happened to the children.

After allegedly killing the girls’ mother in her home in Loranger, Louisiana, on June 12, and kidnapping the children, Callihan was reportedly seen on surveillance video with the two girls at a McDonald’s before arriving at a home located on Boozier Drive in Jackson, Mississippi, some 130 miles north of Loranger.

Callihan, who was apprehended on June 13, apparently confessed to many of the crimes in a detailed interview with police.

“During his custodial interview, Callihan confessed to the murders of Callie Brunett and her minor daughter, Minor Victim 1 (a four-year-old whose identity is known to me), the theft of Brunett’s vehicle and disposal of her cellular telephone, and his intent to keep the living minor child as a ‘sex slave,”” the probable cause affidavit says — a particularly chilling detail considering the apparent living situation at the house close to where the girls were found.

“The investigation has revealed that the Boozier Drive residence is partially unfinished, and there appears to be no permanent residents,” the affidavit says. “Rather, a variety of individuals appear to use the house and stay there for periods from time to time.”

The two girls were ultimately found “in a pit on the property located approximately fifty yards” behind the house. Erin was dead, but the 6-year-old was “recovered alive,” the affidavit says.

The girls’ presence had not gone unnoticed by those in the house and surrounding area, as U.S. Marshals preparing to search the home soon discovered.

“While members of the USMTF were staging on Boozier Drive (which is near the location on Terry Road where Callihan was ultimately found) to search for Callihan, two civilians approached them and said they had recently heard two children screaming from the woods approximately fifty yards behind a residence located down the road on Boozier Drive,” the affidavit says.

After Callihan’s arrest, the affidavit says, “an adult male approached law enforcement and stated that he had been present in the Boozier Drive residence in the prior days.” That individual “told law enforcement authorities that he observed Callihan, Minor Victim 1, and Minor Victim 2 on the property and inside the Boozier Drive residence during the time period of June 12, 2024, and June 13, 2024.”

During his interview with police, Callihan apparently acknowledged that the girls were clearly in distress.

“When they arrived at the Boozier Driver residence, Minor Victims were crying and did not want to stay with Callihan,” the affidavit says. “Eventually, Callihan decided to kill Minor Victim 1.”

The surviving sister was taken to a hospital for evaluation, the affidavit says.

Matt Naham contributed to this report.

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