Colorado couple faces child abuse, murder charges

Updated December 5, 2017 - 6:47 pm

A couple that federal law enforcement officers caught trying to flee to Mexico faces felony child abuse and murder charges after their 3-month-old daughter died last month, public records show.

Mallory Purnell, 23, and Brandon Kellermeier, 29, were arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers near San Diego on Nov. 21 when it was discovered they were wanted by Las Vegas police for child abuse, an arrest report shows.

Purnell told police that she, Kellermeier, and their daughter had been living out of a Jeep Liberty and arrived Nov. 18 at Valley of Fire State Park. The couple was reported in September to Child Protective Services in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for potential child abuse, but fled the state before an investigation could be conducted, the report said.

Two days before their arrest near the U.S.-Mexico border, Purnell and Kellermeier’s daughter suffered a seizure, the report said. Purnell blew marijuana smoke in the baby girl’s face to try and calm the seizure, but later took her to North Vista Hospital when she became unresponsive, according to the report.

When tests showed the baby girl had brain bleeding and a possible skull fracture, she was taken to University Medical Center.

Kellermeier told police he dropped his daughter after he suffered a seizure, but nothing had happened since.

The baby girl had both new and old blood on her brain and was recovering from a fractured leg, according to the police report. She also had a cut on her eyelid and bruises on her back, police said. A doctor noted the girl had bleeding inside her eyes and wrote “shaken baby” in her notes.

Clark County Department of Family Services records show a 3-month-old girl was hospitalized on Nov. 19 and died Nov. 22. Court records show Kellermeier and Purnell both face a first-degree murder charge.

Contact Blake Apgar at or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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