By Stephanie Butzer
AURORA, Colo. (KMGH) — Amid a search for a missing 5-year-old, a woman faces charges of child abuse resulting in death after human remains were found in her Aurora apartment, police announced Thursday afternoon.
According to the Aurora Police Department (APD), around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, a person from out of state called to report that their daughter, Alexus Tanielle Nelson, 27, had “made concerning statements to them by text.” The caller was worried about their granddaughter, Nelson’s daughter.
Officers responded to Nelson’s apartment in Aurora. Nelson told police she gave her daughter up for adoption, but couldn’t show the officers any records, police said. Investigators were not able to independently verify the adoption.
Maha Li Hobbs, 5, was reported missing from the Aurora area and was said to likely be with her mother, Nelson, on Tuesday. An investigation began that evening. Nelson was identified as Maha’s primary caretaker and mother, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. An endangered missing alert was issued for Maha around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday and it was deactivated around noon Thursday.
Aurora police confirmed on Wednesday that their crime lab and detectives were working around Nelson’s residence.
She was arrested on Tuesday on a charge of attempting to influence a public servant after investigators couldn’t confirm her claim about her daughter’s adoption.
On Thursday, detectives with APD’s Crimes Against Children Unit located the remains of a child in Nelson’s apartment. As a result, Nelson now faces additional charges of child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with physical evidence, police said.
Aurora police have not identified the remains as belonging to Maha as of Thursday afternoon.
Nelson appeared in Arapahoe County court on Thursday morning. The defense acknowledged the “very serious allegations” in her arrest affidavit, which has not yet been released.
The judge said given the severity of the charges against Nelson, the court had concerns about her willingness to appear in court. The judge said if she is convicted of the charges against her, it would amount to a significant amount of time behind bars.
Nelson’s bond was set at $100,000 cash or surety.
This story was originally published by KMGH in Denver, an E.W. Scripps Company.