Neglect charges dropped against homeowner in Jakie Toole case

Photo courtesy Meridian Police Department

Jakie Toole

Charges against the owner of a home where a 5-year-old child was found dead in September were dropped Thursday in Meridian Municipal Court.

Meridian police decided to drop two counts of contributing to the neglect of a minor against Alicia Thames due to lack of evidence, MPD Chief Benny Dubose said.

Police don't expect any other charges against Thames in the case, Dubose said. 

Thames is the owner of a home on Crabapple Drive in Meridian, where Jakie Toole's body was found wrapped in a bag in the basement on Sept. 11. 

Toole was reported missing on Sept. 4, but was last seen in April. His death was caused by blunt force trauma, according to the autopsy, which revealed broken and cracked ribs and burns, police said.

The child's caregiver, Celeste Louise Smith, 35, of Meridian, was charged with capital murder and two counts of child neglect. Smith directed police to the body. 

Police believe Jakie and another child in Smith's care were both abused by Smith.

The children's mother, Teasia Warren, 24, was later charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Thames, who police said was a friend of Smith, was charged with contributing to the neglect of a minor on Oct. 8.  

Municipal Court Judge Robbie Jones said Thursday there was not enough  evidence to connect Thames to criminal wrongdoing in the case. 

An investigation by Child Protective Services found no evidence connecting Thames to the case, according to Dubose.  

Smith and Warren's cases are pending a presentation to a Lauderdale County grand jury.

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