Search warrant shows 15-month-old Malaya Heun was physically, sexually abused
KANNAPOLIS — Police investigators believe 15-month-old Malaya Faith Heun suffered physical and sexual abuse prior to her January death.
A search warrant issued Jan. 20, just two days before the child died, made requests for items that she would’ve worn in the days leading up to her death and other items inside her Kannapolis home. Other warrants detail injuries Malaya received including seven broken ribs.
The child’s mother, Christy Heun, was at work the Sunday before Malaya’s death when she got a call from her sister informing Christy she needed to come home because there was something wrong with the child.
• Warrant details
According to one of three search warrants, on Jan. 19 at 10:42 p.m. the Kannapolis Police Department Communications Center received a call from the Rowan County Communications Center requesting first responders at 2508 Running Brook Drive. As the call continued, dispatchers were notified the victim, later revealed to be Malaya Heun, was being taken to the hospital by a family member’s personal vehicle.
The next day at 1:31 a.m. Kannapolis Police Department Communications Center received a call from the Cabarrus County Communications Center to request that an officer respond to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte in reference to a child abuse complaint.
Medical personnel at the hospital told police the child was being treated for extensive trauma. Malaya had seven broken ribs on her left side, bruising on her head and body, a displaced clavicle and torn intestines. The intestinal injury caused a severe infection and sent Malaya into septic shock. She underwent surgery and was then placed on life support. She also had a blood alcohol content of 0.02, the warrant said.
The warrants also say Malaya had vaginal and rectal damage and ruptured intestines. Her injuries were consistent with “signs of physical and sexual abuse.”
The warrant issued Jan. 20 requests certain items be seized including papers that show ownership of the home, any bedding, mattresses, any medications prescribed to Malaya, or any other evidence related to the ongoing investigation. Investigators also listed a search of the apartment where the Heun family lived in Kannapolis. There were a number of items seized from the apartment.
The Rowan County Clerk’s Office did not have a list of the items seized immediately available. According to published reports, investigators seized five bottles of liquor, three pill bottles that contained various medications, a safe with drug paraphernalia and paperwork inside, six flash drives, two laptop computers, two fitted sheets, a child safety sheet and three bottles and cups.
Kannapolis investigator David L. Horne, who requested the Jan. 20 warrant, said based on his training and experience, “acts of violence stemming from a particular location will result in the transfer of evidence to and/or from the victim and perpetrator(s). This evidence might include, but is not limited to, blood, hair, fibers, shoe impressions, body fluids, latent evidence, and like materials.”
Horne said further investigation of the scene is warranted.
A warrant dated Jan. 22, the same day Malaya Heun died, and executed a day later, explains the DNA collection process, saying evidence could be collected from the victim’s or suspect’s body and/or clothing.
“In addition to linking a suspect to a victim by collecting DNA evidence, it can also exonerate the innocent,” the warrant said.
Christy Heun told the Post she thinks she knows who hurt her daughter, but she couldn’t believe that person would do it. Heun also told the Post she was cooperating with police.
Police have released few details in the case, but say they want to be thorough. Kannapolis Police Chief Woody Chavis said Monday night his department does have sufficient evidence, but are being cautious to ensure their case is strong.
He said they’ve been in conversation with the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office and “want to make sure before any charges are brought against anybody, we have a case built as well as possible.”
Chavis said his department is pursuing the case as diligently as possible.
Evidence was collected and is pending test results for the presence of DNA, the warrant said. The warrant further states it is necessary for DNA profiles that may be collected be compared to known samples of other household members in order to “eliminate that profile.”
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.