Flagler County sheriff names person of interest after 1-year-old girl dies in shooting

A toddler died in Flagler County after deputies said she was shot in the head on Sunday.

Deputies said they responded to a home on Ranwood Lane in Palm Coast around 11:45 p.m. on Sunday after reports of a shooting.


At the home, deputies said they found an 18-month-old girl with a gunshot wound to the head. The girl was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Sheriff Rick Staly said there were eight people inside the home when the shooting happened, including the toddler’s mother. He said not everyone inside the home is cooperating with the investigation. Staly said the little girl did not touch the gun before she was shot.

So far, Staly said, they have identified a person of interest in the shooting as CJ Nelson, 21. Staly said Nelson has not been charged related to the child’s death, but is in custody on a charge of violation of probation for possession of a weapon.

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“This is a tragic situation, and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of this little girl. This was a young life cut way too short,” Staly said. “While God has a new little angel, we will investigate this incident along with the State Attorney’s Office Homicide Investigation Unit until all facts are known.”

Neighbor Eileen Yaffe heard a bang and yelling that led her outside shortly before midnight. Others said it was clear something bad happened, but they only found out today.

“We didn’t know that a baby passed away,” Yaffe said.

Investigators said the home is a rental, and they have been called to the property twice since January.

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Neighbors said the property had not been a problem.

“I’m sure it was an accident, whatever happened, but (it’s) just devastating,” Yaffe said.

The family, who said the baby loved saying hi to everyone who walked by, has set up a GoFundMe in memory of her.

See a map of the scene below:

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