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Ex-lover of dead woman stuffed in suitcase is being hunted by FBI, Mo. officials say

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

The former lover of a woman found dead in a suitcase by the side of a Missouri highway last month has been charged with kidnapping her children, prosecutors say.

Mahamud Tooxoow Mahamed, 37, was charged Tuesday after an FBI investigation, court documents show. The Somali national and resident of Noel, Missouri, is now a fugitive from justice, federal prosecutors said in a news release.

He’s accused of kidnapping Jessica McCormack’s three daughters and taking them to a former coworker in Iowa — before suddenly leaving the children the same day police notified the public of the children’s disappearance, FBI investigators said in an arrest affidavit.

The girls are 4, 2, and 6 months old, officials said. Mahamed is the father of McCormack’s second child, prosecutors said.

On July 29, a bicyclist found McCormack’s body dumped off Highway 59 in rural McDonald County in southwest Missouri, according to the sheriff’s office. Her body was “partially unclothed state within the suitcase,” according to the affidavit. Police immediately investigated the death as a homicide.

After police identified the woman as McCormack, the sheriff’s office searched its database of emergency calls, which showed cops had gone to her home July 16. Police reported meeting with McCormack and her three children, as well as seeing Mahamed at the home, according to the affidavit.

The same day, McCormack called a man who’d just moved out of her home, according to the affidavit. She asked him to pick up her and the kids, according to the affidavit. But he didn’t get them because he was in St. Louis, the man told investigators. This was the last time he heard from McCormack, he said, according to the affidavit.

A woman who previously worked with Mahamed at the Tyson Foods plant in Noel told police that he brought the children to her Des Moines home on Aug. 5, according to the affidavit. Three days later, she woke up early in the morning to hear one of the children crying, and Mahamed gone, she told police. He left her a note that “he could not care for the children and had left,” according to the affidavit.

Police found the children in Des Moines on Aug. 8.

The father of McCormack’s oldest child told FBI investigators that Mahamed wasn’t allowed to take his daughter, according to the affidavit. The father of her youngest child hasn’t been identified, federal prosecutors said.

Mahamed has been charged with kidnapping a minor.

Now police are searching for Mahamed, and he’s considered a fugitive.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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