News Release|

On Wednesday, June 12, 2024, Judge Joseph Whitfield sentenced Alexus Nelson, 28, to 84 years in prison for the 2023 murder of her 5-year-old daughter.

Nelson pleaded guilty to the following offenses:

Second-Degree Murder (Class 2 Felony) – 48 years

Tampering with a Deceased Body (Class 3 Felony) – 24 years

Attempting to Influence a Public Servant (Class 4 Felony) 12 years

On May 30, 2023, Nelson’s mother called the Aurora Police Department to request a “welfare check” on her granddaughter after Nelson claimed she gave the child up for adoption. The grandmother reported that she had not heard or seen Maha Li in approximately 3 weeks.

Responding officers were able contact Nelson who advised them she had given her child up for adoption through an adoption agency. When officers contacted the adoption agency Nelson gave them, the agency claimed they had no contact or case file with Nelson or her daughter.

The next day, police obtained a search warrant for Nelson’s apartment in the 1000 block of S. Elkhart Street. Upon opening a utility closet door on the apartment’s patio, a detective recognized the odor of decomposing flesh. Inside a bag, detectives found the charred human remains of Nelson’s daughter. Bone fragments in ashes were also located inside Nelson’s fireplace.

“There are many resources and legal ways for parents to surrender their children in the event they are unable to care for them,” Senior Deputy DA Kathleen Tierney said. “It’s both heartbreaking and appalling that a mother would kill her own child and then make up a bogus adoption story so family would believe the child is alive and well.”

Since Nelson entered a guilty plea Wednesday, her trial dates for later this month have been vacated. Her guilty plea also eliminates the possibility of a future appeal.

“While we were fully prepared to take this case to trial, this plea protects Maha Li’s family from having to listen to painful, horrific and gruesome testimony,” Chief Deputy DA Chris Gallo said. “Detectives with the Aurora Police Department were able to quickly punch holes in the defendant’s story which ultimately helped us quickly solve this case and bring justice to Maha Li’s family.”

All sentences are consecutive.

“This mother knew about available adoption programs that could have cared for this 5-year-old but instead, she chose murder,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “While there is no way to fully comprehend what turned this mother into a monster, she deserves to spend several decades behind bars for the unspeakable crime she committed.”



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