The day after the birth of his baby girl Callie, Carlton Conley noticed something strange.
He told his partner Paula Johnson that Callie’s face “wasn’t as fat” as it had been the previous day. It was true.
Callie had weighed 4.2kg when she was born on June 29, 1995. When she was weighed two days after the birth, she was just 3.5kg.
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Paula was concerned that her daughter seemed to have lost her appetite and asked the nurses at the University of Virginia Medical Centre in Charlottesville why her little girl wasn’t sucking anymore.
She was told that babies sometimes “forget how”.
Callie was Paula’s fourth child, and her first with Carlton.
Carlton, a construction worker who enjoyed hunting deer and squirrel, loved Callie, dressing her in tiny camouflage pyjamas and buying her a rifle to give her when she was older.
But the couple’s relationship was stormy, and Carlton moved out when Callie was one.
According to an article in People, Paula claimed in court documents that Carlton “ran into the back of my car with his truck… He then got a gun and shoved me and said he would shoot me”. Carlton spent four days in jail.
When Paula took Carlton to court over child support payments, the judge ordered a DNA test to prove he was Callie’s father. The results of the test showed he wasn’t. Paula told the judge that was “crazy”, because she hadn’t been with anyone else.
“He said, ‘Yes, ma’am, but that’s not everything. You’re also excluded from being Callie’s mother’,” she told People.
Rebecca Chittum was born at the same hospital as Callie on June 30, 1995.