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Father Charged With Murder of Five-Week-Old Son Allegedly Asked Detective ‘To Shoot Him’ After Leading Investigators to Boy’s Corpse


Caleb Whisnand mugshot

Chilling new details have been released in the disappearance and murder of a five-week-old baby boy in Alabama last month.

Caleb Whisnand Sr., 32, stands accused of killing his infant son Caleb “C.J.” Whisnand Jr. after crying in front of local news cameras and hoping for the dead child’s safe return.

According to, a site run by a collection of newspapers across the state, a detective with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office testified that Whisnand eventually admitted to killing C.J. but insisted that he didn’t intend to do so.

“He said it was an accident, he had hit his head,” Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Investigator John Shepherd said during an initial hearing before Fifteenth Circuit District Judge Tiffany McCord.

What’s more, the investigator said, the elder Whisnand was allegedly so ashamed that he craved his own death.

During his testimony, Shepherd reportedly said the defendant “looked at me and asked me to shoot him.”

After that request, the detective said, Whisnand was handcuffed for safety reasons.

Those alleged admissions of guilt came after the boy’s father is said to have lead investigators to the shallow grave where C.J. was buried in nearby Lowndes County. Angela Gardner, the boy’s mother, was also at the makeshift burial site and after the body was recovered. Whisnand allegedly ran up to her, hugged her, and said, “I’m sorry.”

“He led the investigators straight to a shallow grave,” Shepherd said.

The boy died of an “acute injury” that killed him “within minutes,” according to the testimony of Forensic pathologist Dr. David Rydzewski of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

Whisnand originally — and publicly — claimed that he last saw his son at a Circle K gas station in Montgomery.

“I don’t remember a lot, but I did remember I was breaking up, ya know, with the cops,” Whisnand said during the news conference — with a crestfallen Garnder at his side. “If anybody’s got anything, any places that I could have gone, you know who you are. It would mean everything to us. The family ain’t the same without family, that’s for sure.”

The child’s mother also endorsed that story — presumably because she believed him when he told her that version.

“He went to go pay gas at the gas station and realized he was gone,” Gardner said — referring to Whisnand. “He let the police know, and me know, that he was missing.”

Shepherd testified during the hour-long hearing that surveillance video was unable to confirm the story about the gas station.

“We viewed video footage at Circle K,” the detective told Judge McCord. “We did not see anybody take the child from that location.”

Rather, investigators said, the last time C.J. was seen alive on video was at a Walmart in Montgomery County during the mid afternoon of Monday, May 11 — the day he was reported missing.

According to Shepherd, Whisnand gave several substantially different versions of what happened to the baby boy the weekend prior. Investigators later confronted the defendant with one very-large-sized hole in the ever-changing nature of his stories: cell phone data allegedly showed him traveling to Lowndes County.

When he was confronted with his reticence in mentioning that alleged trek, Whisnand claimed he went on a “drug run,” according to Shepherd.

Another video, this time culled from a bank camera, appeared to show Whisnand throwing away a child’s sock and a pacifier.

“I felt something was amiss,’’ Shepherd told the court.

Two days after his initial police interview, Whisnand and Gardner gave the now-infamous press conference.

The next day, C.J.’s father was charged with murder.

Judge McCord ultimately ruled that enough probable cause was present for a grand jury to consider a murder indictment; she also issued a gag order — which was opposed by the prosecution — at the request of Whisnand’s defense team.

[image via Montgomery County Jail]

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