A Somali national — indicted two years ago in the kidnapping of the 4-year-old daughter of a woman whose body was discovered in a suitcase discarded along a highway near Noel — was arrested recently in Guatemala and returned to federal custody in the U.S.

Mahamud Tooxoow Mahamed, 39, made an initial appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, on the kidnapping charge leveled in an indictment handed up Aug. 20, 2019.

Mahamed, formerly of Noel, is the father of one of the three young daughters of 25-year-old Jessica McCormack, whose body was found July 29, 2019, stuffed inside a suitcase on a steep hillside along Highway 59.

In the course of trying to identify her body, investigators with the McDonald County Sheriff’s Department learned that her three girls were missing. They were located in Iowa a few days later when a Somali woman living in Des Moines who had worked with Mahamed at the Tyson plant in Noel notified authorities that she had the girls.

Mahemed is believed to have taken the girls to Iowa in the wake of their mother’s death, which is presumed to have been a homicide.

But investigators were unable to find Mahamed at the time, and he has remained a fugitive from justice for almost two years. After his arrest in Guatemala, he was expelled and returned to the U.S., where he remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing Monday.

McCormack was last seen alive July 16, 2019, when law enforcement officers responded to call to her home in Noel. Mahamed, who had been her boyfriend, was present at the address on that date, along with her daughters, who were 4 years old, 20 months old and 10 months old at that time.

The girls all have different fathers, two of whom were members of the Somali community in Noel. Mahamed is the father of the second-youngest one. The Hispanic American father of the oldest girl filed a missing-person report when the girls disappeared, which led to an Amber Alert and search for all three girls, ending with the discovery that they had been taken to Iowa.

The woman in Des Moines told investigators that Mahamed had arrived at her residence with the girls Aug. 5, 2019. She said he left three days later, leaving them behind and informing her in a note that he was unable to take care of them.

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