Woman to stand trial in death of girl, 4, found in cold house

Chelsey Cook It's alleged that she didn't seek help for the girl because there was a warrant out for her arrest.

An Omaha woman charged with intentional child abuse in connection with the death of a 4-year-old girl waived her right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday and will stand trial in Douglas County District Court.

Chelsey Cook, 22, told Douglas County Judge Jeffrey Marcuzzo that she and her attorney made the decision to forgo a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors would have to produce evidence of a crime. Cook faces up to three years in prison if she's convicted.

The body of 4-year-old Alicia Morrow, who was in Cook's care, was found about 10 p.m. Jan. 5, wrapped in plastic in the basement of a frigid house at 3025 Franklin St. A Douglas County judge set Cook's bail at $1 million, meaning she would have to pay 10 percent - $100,000 - to be released from jail.

County Attorney Don Kleine has called the death intentional child abuse "because Cook didn't seek medical attention for Alicia when the child was cold and barely breathing." Cook has said she was afraid to contact authorities because there was a warrant out for her arrest.

Instead, Cook took out a Bible and began praying over the child. She realized that Alicia was dead an hour and a half later and hid her body in the basement, where it remained for more than 2 1/2 days.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, kevin.cole@owh.com

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