Editor’s Note: Oaklee Snow was originally listed as being 2 years old, but prosecutors now believe the child died just shy of her March birthday. Her age has been changed to reflect this development.
INDIANAPOLIS — New details reveal that the mother of abducted 1-year-old Oaklee Snow told police that her boyfriend, Roan Waters, killed the young girl and hid her body in a dresser in an abandoned Morgantown home.
Madison Marshall faces a slew of new felony charges including two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a Level 1 felony along with neglect resulting in serious injury, a Level 3 felony.
Roan Waters faces one count of murder along with two counts of neglect leading to death and other charges.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said Oaklee Snow lived a short, brutalized life.
“Her time on this earth was very much defined by adults abusing her and the allegation here is that abuse eventually led to her death,” Mears said.
Marshall and Waters, her boyfriend, are accused of abducting Oaklee and her baby brother from their father’s Oklahoma home on Jan. 19.
The pair reportedly abandoned Oaklee’s brother in an Indianapolis drug house where family members ended up recovering the baby boy and reporting his abandonment to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
A witness reportedly spotted Marshall and Waters leaving the Indianapolis drug house with “what looked like a child wrapped in a blanket,” documents revealed. The witness said the child did not appear to be moving, talking or crying.
Investigators previously believed that Oaklee was likely dead and that Marshall and Waters disposed of her body somewhere in Indiana.
In the new charging documents, investigators detail how a “hysterical and sobbing” Marshall led officers to an abandoned home in the outskirts of Morgantown where the remains of a child were found in the bottom of a dresser drawer. The remains were badly decomposed but appeared to be a blonde-haired young girl, the documents said.
Positive identification of the child’s remains has not yet been made due to the decomposed state. The Morgan County Coroner said identification could take two to four weeks.
“This child was the victim of abuse over the course of multiple days,” Mears said. “This was not an isolated incident. The Probable Cause affidavit indicates that there was abuse that took place in Oklahoma, Colorado and Indianapolis. This child suffered for a very significant period of time and on Feb. 9 the culmination of that abuse led to Oaklee tragically losing her life.”
Marshall reportedly told police how Waters frequently abused Oaklee and had often hit the girl and even “choked her out” on occasion. He would reportedly beat her for things as simple as “holding a fork wrong,” according to Marshall.
Marshall allegedly told police that the abuse was so bad that Oaklee wouldn’t eat around Waters. Marshall claimed that if she tried to step in and explain that Oaklee was only a toddler then Waters would then turn his abuse toward her.
Oaklee Snow died on Feb. 9, according to the court documents. Marshall told police she recalled her and Waters being awoken by Oaklee crying because she was hungry. This is when the couple was reportedly staying at the “trap house” on Albany Street in Indianapolis.
Marshall accused Waters of throwing Oaklee on the floor in response to her crying with the girl’s head impacting the ground and causing bruising. Marshall said later Waters was shouting at Oaklee to bounce on a large rubber ball despite the child being too small for the toy. Waters reportedly shouted for Marshall sometime later with the mother running in to find Waters holding Oaklee, who was struggling to breathe.
Marshall claims to have tried to call 911 at one point, realizing her daughter was dying, but told police Waters slapped the phone from her hand. Marshall said Waters then wrapped the child in a blanket and the couple left the home. Marshall reportedly held Oaklee in her lap while Marshall drove them to Morgan County where Waters disposed of the body.
Marshall already faced felony charges of neglect and assisting a criminal. She is being held in the Marion County Jail on a $200,000 bond.
Witnesses told investigators that Marshall accompanied Waters to Colorado after the killing, was returned to Indianapolis and then placed on a bus to North Carolina where she was arrested and returned to Marion County last month.
Waters was arrested in Colorado on March 3 after police were called to a hotel and discovered he had outstanding warrants for child abuse, domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor out of Oklahoma.
Waters has been accused of abusing Oaklee in the past by striking the young girl in the mouth and causing trauma to her lips, prompting the charges in his warrant.
State authorities are seeking to extradite Waters from Colorado back to Indiana where he was released in February of 2022 after serving nearly four years of a prison sentence following his 2018 conviction of a burglary charge in Shelby County.
Mears said investigators will rely on forensic evidence, such as the positive response of a cadaver dog on the couple’s vehicle, as well as recorded jail phone calls from Waters to family members after he was arrested in Colorado on the Oklahoma child abuse charges.
“You also had individuals who are in custody who were more than willing to talk about their experiences and what occurred over jail phone calls,” said the prosecutor. ”The individual that are we accusing of murder was in custody in Colorado for much of the last couple month. There’s been a lot of phone calls. There’s been a lot of discussion with various family members and certainly that evidence is something that we intend to present at trial.”
Neighbors on Albany Street said the Indy house where police think the murder occurred is owned by Waters’ mother and has been a source of trouble for years.
“I’m pretty sure they were probably selling weed or drugs or some type of stuff out of there,” said neighbor Duane De Clue who spotted investigators returning to search as recently as this morning.
“Terrible situation,” De Clue said. “Wish it could have been avoided. Wish there was something I could have done to intervene but I didn’t know things were that dramatic over there. I know they fuss and fight and argue and sell all of their stuff but I didn’t know there was children directly involved in any of that stuff.”
Russ McQuaid contributed to this report.