Father of dead baby turns himself in

February 3, 2008 8:51:47 AM PST
Disturbing details are emerging in the murder of a three-month-old boy in Galveston. Last night, we learned the baby's father, Travis "TJ" Mullis, surrendered to police in Philadelphia. Officers say Mullis has also confessed to killing his son by repeatedly stomping on his head with his foot. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, officials said.

Mullis, the father of three-month-old Alijah Mullis, turned himself in to Philadelphia police Friday, ending a nationwide manhunt and surprising Galveston investigators.

"He just walked up and said he wanted to talk, and they sat him down and called us," said Sgt. Jeremy Schwartz with the Galveston Police Department.

Investigators say Mullis told Philadelphia police the disturbing details of what happened to Alijah, that he killed the three-month-old last Tuesday by stomping on his head with his foot until he felt the skull collapsing.

"We took what evidence we had to a judge and a judge authorized a bond and a charge of capital murder. So we've passed that first hurdle. That charge will be later reviewed by a grand jury and we'll take it from there," said Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk

Alijah's mother, Caren Kohberger, has retained an attorney and is currently not talking to police. However, police say neighbors and friends have been cooperative, painting a picture of Mullis as a complex and sometimes troubled young man.

"He did things that were not, to them, normal," said Sgt. Annie Almendarez with the Galveston Police Department. "For lack of a better word, he was weird."

Mullis will face an extradition hearing over the weekend. Authorities from Galveston were headed to Philadelphia late Friday night.

The discovery of the baby's body comes just three months after a fisherman found the remains of a 2-year-old girl in a plastic box that had washed ashore in Galveston Bay. That child, dubbed "Baby Grace," was later identified as Riley Ann Sawyers of Spring. Riley's mother and stepfather are charged with capital murder in her beating death.

- Headlines at a glance