By WSFA staff and Ashley Bowerman

Authorities in Alabama on Thursday announced a capital murder charge against the father of a missing five-week-old baby whose body was discovered in the woods overnight, just hours after the man made a public plea for his son’s safe return.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said investigators recovered the remains of 5-week-old Caleb ‘CJ’ Whisnand Jr in the woods of Lowndes County, Alabama, late on Wednesday, two days after his parents reported him missing.  

Montgomery Co. Sheriff Press Conf. on body of 1-month-old Caleb Michael Whisnand Jr

The boy’s father, Caleb Whisnand Sr, 32, was initially charged with reckless manslaughter, but during a press conference on Thursday morning authorities said the charge will be upgraded to capital murder based on evidence that was obtained during an autopsy that was performed on the victim. 

Missing Montgomery baby found dead, father charged

Officials declined to reveal how the infant died and remained tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding the father’s arrest, citing the ongoing investigation.

Whisnand was arrested on Wednesday night, just hours after taking part in a press conference alongside CJ’s mother, Angela Gardner, to appeal for help in finding their child 

Whisnand was arrested soon after he took part in a bizarre press conference about CJ’s disappearance alongside the child’s innocent mother, Angela Gardner. Gardner is not facing any charges over the death of her son. 

Baby Caleb: Search for missing 1-month-old boy in Alabama

At the time of his arrest, Whisnand was already under indictment on unrelated charges of meth and heroin possession, reckless endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from a June 2020 arrest.

Caleb Whisnand is charged in the death of his 1-month-old son.((Source: Montgomery County Detention Facility))

CJ’s maternal grandmother, Margaret Hope, told Al.com that her daughter was about to break up with Whisnand at the time of their child’s disappearance and death. 

Whisnand was booked into the county jail on a count of reckless manslaughter punishable by up to 20 years in prison. His bond was set at $100,000.  

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