They told officials that Caliyah was fine when they fed and changed her at 5 a.m. Saturday but five hours later when they went into her bedroom she had gone.
The girl's body was found in a duffel bag Sunday afternoon in the woods near her home.
The child's father, identified as Chris McNabb, jumped out of a vehicle and ran shortly after the infant's body was found. McNabb was taken into custody about 7:45 p.m. Sunday, but has not been charged. He was found by authorities and arrested a few hours later on a probation violation. An autopsy will be conducted at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation headquarters to confirm the child's identity and determine the cause of death. She was located about a quarter of a mile from where she lived with McNabb and her mother, Courtney Bell, Newton County Sheriff's Capt. Keith Crum said.
On Saturday, McNabb had spoken to media, yelling, "I want my kid back!" When they checked in on her at 10 a.m., they said they discovered her missing. That's my child, man. "So innocent", Tim Bell, Caliyah's grandfather, said.
"It started out as a missing child, but we treat it as a potential homicide, kidnapping", Crum said.
Police issued a search warrant for the home, and family members were then questioned, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"She was so little. He said, 'I have to go, '" he said. "It hurts like I have never hurt before", he said.
Bell was taken to police headquarters where she gave a statement, however she has not been named a person of interest in the case.
"That you're going to hell".