State Attorney Bill Eddins announced Wednesday that his office plans to seek an indictment for first-degree murder for suspect Cory Hagwell. If a grand jury returns an indictment, the State Attorney's Office will decide whether the death penalty will be sought.

CRESTVIEW — Just five days after 3-year-old Adelynn Merrell’s body was discovered in the woods near her home, people are coming together to memorialize the little girl.

Adelynn died of blunt force trauma Nov. 9 after her mother’s boyfriend, 29-year-old Cory Hagwell, allegedly kicked her for getting out of her car seat too early. Authorities say Hagwell dumped her body in the woods off Palmetto Avenue east of Crestview the next day. He and Adelynn's mother, 23-year-old Destinee Merrell, are in the Okaloosa County Jail on charges related to her death.

Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll issued a statement Tuesday night calling Adelynn’s death “sickening,” and said DCF will continue to coordinate with law enforcement to investigate the case.

“Adelynn’s death is sickening and I am disgusted that a child would be treated this way. DCF is coordinating with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office to hold anyone responsible for her death accountable,” Carroll said in his statement, which was emailed to the Daily News. “As the family is familiar with the child welfare system, a thorough quality assurance review will be conducted to review all prior interactions this family has had with the child welfare system.”

DCF Communications Director Jessica Sims said reports relating to the case would be made available, but did not specify when.

State Attorney Bill Eddins announced Wednesday that his office plans to seek an indictment for first-degree murder for Hagwell. If a grand jury returns an indictment, the State Attorney's Office will decide whether the death penalty will be sought.

Meanwhile, a Facebook page called “Adelynn Makes a Difference” was started to spread information and positive messages about efforts being made to honor Adelynn’s memory. According to the page, its missions are to provide “immediate help to the family, Christmas for the boys (Adelynn’s two brothers), a memorial garden for Adelynn and (to help) other abused children in our community and fix the system that has failed these children.”

A post on the page said Adelynn’s father has asked people not to post hateful things about the crimes committed against his daughter, but to focus on the love and joy that was characteristic of the little girl.

“Adelynn was very girlie and loved all things glitter and glitz,” the post read. “These are some of the things the family wants you to remember about her. (Her father) doesn't want you to think of what was done to her, but to remember her beautiful face and know that though she isn't physically here with us on earth, that she is here in spirit and will always be with us.”

People also have spent the past several days cleaning up the road near the woods where Adelynn’s body was found. Neighbors had nicknamed Palmetto Avenue “Trash Road” due to the amount of garbage that had been dumped there over the years. But after the little girl’s body was found there, they decided it was time for a change.

“This little girl was discovered out there, and how dare they treat her like a piece of trash,” Burnell Reliford said Monday. “So we’re going to do what we can to remove the trash.”

Timothy Morgan and his wife, Rebecca Rowlett, live a couple miles from Palmetto Avenue and heard about the efforts to clean it up on social media. The couple went to the road Wednesday morning to start picking up trash.

“With all the trash it’s a good place to dump or whatever, but children aren’t garbage,” Morgan said. "And that’s why we made the signs up and put up here so we could let the community know and maybe hopefully get something done to where they don’t dump out here anymore.”

Rowlett said she wanted the road to be cleaned up so a memorial for Adelynn could be built in a clean space.

“I just feel that the family, you know, should have the best memorial for their little girl, 'cause she didn’t deserve it,” Rowlett said. “And like Timmy said, we put the signs up, but we are mainly doing it for this little girl. If she’s going to have a memorial, she needs to have a clean memorial.”

Daily News photographer Nick Tomecek contributed to this report.

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