NOEL, Mo. — The McDonald County Sheriff's Department and the FBI served a search warrant Wednesday on a residence in Noel in their probe of the death of Jessica McCormack and her boyfriend's purported taking of her three young daughters to Iowa.

A kidnapping charge was filed late Tuesday in federal court in Springfield against Mahamud Tooxoow Mahamed, a 37-year-old Somali national, who has been living in Noel and is the father of McCormack's 20-month-old daughter, Saidah Noor. Mahamed has not been located and is considered a fugitive from justice.

An affidavit filed with the charge refers to Mahamed as McCormack's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance and states that he was at her residence on Main Street in Noel with her and her daughters on July 16 when Noel town marshals were called there. The document refers to the call as the last time she was seen alive.

Her body was discovered July 29 near the bottom of a steep hillside along Missouri Highway 59 northeast of Noel. A suitcase was found a short distance further up the cliff and investigators believe there is strong evidence her body had been stuffed in the suitcase at one time.

"There is a deputy who believes he saw the suitcase in a tree about a week before the body was found," Chief Deputy Chris Allison said.

Allison said it appeared to the deputy as if the suitcase might have been tossed over the cliff from above and landed in the tree. If the deputy's memory is correct, the suitcase possibly later fell from the tree and spilled the deceased woman's body down the hillside.

Allison told the Globe that a search warrant was being served Wednesday on a residence in Noel in connection with the suspected homicide of McCormack. He said more information could be released once the search is completed. 

Mahamed is charged with kidnapping Siah Casillas, the 4-year-old daughter of McCormack and Miguel A. Casillas, who reported his daughter missing last week.

A woman identified in the federal court affidavit as Malyun Kaliso contacted authorities in Missouri on Thursday to report that she had the three children at her residence in Des Moines, Iowa. Kaliso formerly worked with Mahamed at the Tyson plant in Noel, according to the affidavit, and he showed up at her home Aug. 5 with the three girls. He disappeared three days later, leaving Kaliso a note telling her he was unable to take care of the girls.

The children were taken into protective custody in Iowa.

The affidavit states that another man who formerly lived with McCormack and her children,Ibrahim Akfeen, told a McDonald County investigator on Monday that he moved out of her home in Noel on July 15 and is now living in the St. Louis area. Akfeen told the investigator that he received a phone call from her in the early morning hours of July 16 asking him to come back to Noel and pick up her and the girls. She also made the same request in a text message, but he was unable to come get her, he told the investigator.

Akfeen reported that was the last he heard from McCormack.

Investigators have yet to establish the cause and manner of McCormack's death due to the extent of decomposition of the body, but the circumstantial evidence strongly points to homicide. 

Mahamed was charged two years ago with sexual assault of another woman in Noel. A probable-cause affidavit in that case states that the woman, who was 31 years old at the time, called Mahamed to come get her at an apartment in Noel. They went back to his apartment and shared some shots of tequila and danced a bit together before she fell asleep.

She later told investigators that she was awoke in the middle of the night to find Mahamed with his hand in her pants and her shorts pulled partially down. She said she told him to let her go and he told her to "just relax," according to the affidavit. She told him no again and bit him and ran into the living room of the apartment.

She picked up a rod from the floor to defend herself, and he grabbed a gun from a kitchen cabinet, pulled the slide back on the weapon and told her to leave, according to the affidavit.

Mahamed, who was charged with second-degree sodomy and unlawful use of a weapon in the incident, has a court hearing scheduled Nov. 19.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe. 

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