A Georgia mother will spend the rest of her life behind bars for the murder of her infant son in 2021, authorities have said.
Breyanla Lachuan Cooper, 29, pleaded guilty to all charges against her in a Cobb County courtroom Thursday, the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
In August 2021, the since-convicted woman was charged with one count of malicious murder, aggravated assault and concealment of the death of another for killing her 19-month-old son, Faheem Cooper, then dumping his tiny body in the Chattahoochee River.
The child was discovered by chance in the well-known river in the late morning of July 1, 2021 by firefighters near the Paces Mill Unit boat launch off Cobb Parkway. The Cobb County fire crew “began training and filming a water safety video when they discovered the toddler’s remains,” Cobb County Police spokesman Sgt. Wayne Delk said when announcing the arrest.
As Law&Crime reported at the time, Breyanla Cooper was initially charged with covering up another person’s death.
Police say the boy’s mother failed to cooperate with his arrest – and sought to prevent a determination of whether her son’s death was the result of violence or abuse. The body of Faheem Cooper was placed in the muddy waters of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area on June 26, 2021, in the late afternoon and early evening, according to the arrest warrant in the case.
The defendant reported to local law enforcement after seeing the headlines about the discovery of her son’s body, the prosecutor’s office noted in its press release. She first feigned something like surprise, asking for help identifying the body by calling a non-emergency line.
In discussions with detectives, Breyanla Cooper said her son was kidnapped by a man she owed money to. Under pressure from crooked investigators, the killer said she was too scared to report the abduction. Basic details of the phantom kidnapper and the nonexistent abduction were later provided to law enforcement. However, when surveillance footage obtained from two separate motels that may have supported her story was viewed and verified, police found no evidence of an abduction – or even any evidence that she had been at either location with her son.
Detectives quickly moved on and spoke to the defendant’s mother. She last saw her grandson on June 26 that year – and gave detectives information about the car her daughter was driving.
After obtaining and reviewing GPS data from the vehicle, law enforcement learned that Breyanla Cooper spent just over two hours on the Chattahoochee River – between 5:57 p.m. and 8:08 p.m. – on the last day her son was seen alive.
Authorities believe she killed the child on the spot. The mother’s indictment alleges that her son was asphyxiated.
A cell phone seized from Breyanla Cooper revealed revealing research into foster care and the Chattahoochee River, law enforcement said. The defendant’s eldest child told police their mother had said their “time with ‘Faheem Cooper’ was over”.
“It is unimaginable for anyone to take the life of a child, let alone their own mother,” Cobb District Attorney Flynn D. Broady, Jr. said when the sentencing was announced. “We are committed to obtaining justice for all victims. We will hold all those responsible accountable.
The road to what amounts to justice in this case has taken just over two years.
The accused initially pleaded not guilty in the case. His trial was originally scheduled to start at the end of March this year.
“It is unfathomable that a human being could do this to a baby,” Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Green said during the plea hearing. “It is indescribable for a mother to do this to her own flesh and blood.”
Superior Court Judge Kellie S. Hill added, “I can’t imagine how painful this must be for the family. There is nothing the court can say or do to make things better for anyone.
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