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Charge dropped in case involving death of 2-month-old
1016DEATHChristopher Lamar Cantrell
Christopher Lamar Cantrell

Due to a lack of evidence, Hall County Magistrate Court officials have dropped a felony cruelty to children charge against Christopher Lamar Cantrell in an incident involving the death of a 2-month-old, according to public defender Brad Morris.

Cantrell, 21, of Gainesville, is still charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct, said Morris, whose office represented Cantrell.

Cantrell appeared before Chief Magistrate Judge Margaret Gregory Friday morning for a probable cause hearing. During such hearings, a judge hears live testimony to determine if there is enough evidence to support charges.

During the proceedings Friday, court officials set a $3,000 bond for Cantrell, but as of Friday evening, he remained in custody at the Hall County Detention Center, where he has been since Sept. 23.

The charges stem from an incident Sept. 22 involving 2-month-old Carmello Cantrell.

On that date, the Gainesville Police Department responded to the Atlanta Street Apartments in Gainesville in reference to a 911 call for a medical unit, said Lt. Carol Martin, commander with the city police's criminal investigations division.

"The child was found to be unresponsive and was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center and was later taken to a children's hospital in Atlanta," Martin said. "The child died in the hospital on Sept. 25. We're waiting for the results of the autopsy to determine the cause of death."

According to Martin, the relationship between Cantrell and the child is unknown, but it is believed he was the primary caretaker at the time of the incident. The child's mother is believed to have been at work at the time.

Court documents related to the case claim that Cantrell consciously disregarded a "substantial and unjustifiable risk" and that his "omission by sleeping and neglecting the child for several hours" resulted in injury to the infant. The documents also state the baby's injuries included a bleeding brain.

The case is still under investigation.