Autopsy reveals 3-year-old Adelynn Merrell died from skull fracture to the back of the head caused by blunt force trauma inflicted by live-in boyfriend Cory M. Hagwell.

CRESTVIEW — The death of a 3-year-old girl that's shaken the Crestview community has resulted in a charge of first-degree murder.

According to a press release from Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, an autopsy on Adelynn Merrell — whose body was found dumped in the woods off Palmetto Avenue east of the Hub City on Friday — revealed that the little girl died from a skull fracture to the back of the head caused by blunt force trauma.

OCSO has now added a charge of first-degree murder to prior charges involving 29-year-old Cory M. Hagwell and a charge of accessory after the fact to murder for Adelynn's mother, 23-year old Destinee J. Merrell.

Deputies were called to 4700 Bobolink Way on Friday after Adelynn was reported missing by the couple. Hagwell, a live-in boyfriend, and Merrell said they’d last seen her playing in the backyard and believed she’d been kidnapped.

An intense search was conducted but deputies were struck by how calm and unemotional Merrell appeared, according to the release. As they continued to talk to her, she ultimately admitted that Hagwell had kicked the little girl in the head and locked her in the master bedroom closet, then took the child’s body to the woods after she was found dead.

In an interview at the Okaloosa County Jail, Merrell said the abuse happened around 6:30 a.m. Friday, but she never checked on Adelynn in the closet until around 11:30 a.m. They called the OCSO with the concocted missing child/abduction story about an hour later. The little girl's body was discovered in the wooded area near the Walton County line by deputies around 4:30 p.m.

OCSO investigators say during the course of their investigation over the weekend, Merrell and Hagwell gave conflicting stories as to exactly what happened. A child in the home, however, said he saw Hagwell kick Adelynn while she was playing and he heard Merrell say “Stop Cory.” The boy said he also saw the little girl in a bedroom closet on the floor and not talking — and never saw or heard from Adelynn again.

During the jail interview, Merrell also told investigators Hagwell lost his job about one month ago and began exhibiting escalating violence toward Adelynn. Merrell described hearing thuds and the sounds of her daughter crying 15 to 16 times over that period.

She said Hagwell would also withhold food from Adelynn and put her in the closet for extended periods of time.

Both Merrell and Hagwell are being held without bond at the Okaloosa County Jail.

Hagwell was previously charged on one count of aggravated child battery. Merrell was previously charged on three counts of child neglect without great bodily harm and one count of aggravated child battery.

During the course of the investigation, OCSO also had another child in Merrell’s care taken to the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center on Friday for a wellness exam where a doctor found the 5-year-old boy suffers from malnutrition, weighing less than 33 pounds, with “bones in all regions of his body exposed.”

In addition, investigators determined Merrell had left Adelynn and another child alone and locked in a room in the Bobolink Way home on Sept. 1. The youngsters broke out a window and were found by neighbors.

None of the children involved in the case were born through the relationship between Merrell and Hagwell.