Man Accused of Beating Child to Death Turns Self In

7:15 PM, Dec 14, 2007   |    comments
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(Columbia) -- The man who deputies say, beat a two-year-old to death earlier this week turned himself in Friday. Daniel McAlister, 23, is now in custody. McAlister is charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of two-year-old Christiana Gallishaw. Gallishaw died shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday. "It's sad you know, kind of a relief because she went to a better place," her mother, Cierra Gallishaw said while holding back tears. At news conference Friday afternoon, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says McAlister turned himself in about noon. Christiana's mother, Ciera Gallishaw, says she received the call from deputies earlier in the morning that her daughter's killer was in custody. She told News 19 that she is relieved, saying she feels as though a weight has been lifted off her shoulders, and that she can now think about burying her daughter. She added, "It's still not going to bring back my little girl." Deputies say McAlister brought the 2-year-old to Palmetto Health with severe head injuries. He initially told doctors she fell. "I was going to bring her home again after she got well," explained Gallishaw. But, Christiana never had that second chance. Instead her mother returned home with the little girl's posessions. News 19 spoke with Christiana's biological father, Chris Anderson, who doesn't understand why McAlister would hurt his child. "He needs to be caught before somebody else gets him, either way that is it for him," said Anderson. Christiana's mom hopes, McAlister gets everything coming to him. "The same thing that happened to my little girl...he needs to feel exactly what she felt in her last three days," said Gallishaw. She started a new job and just needed someone to watch her daughter for a few hours. McAlister watched the girl Monday-- just one day prior to the beating. Parental Expert Donna Happach from Parenting Partners says this happens a lot to single parents who have to juggle work and kids. "Because they're not their biological children some of the bond that occurs to prevent child abuse or neglect doesn't occur," she says. Anderson says even though his family wasn't together anymore, his bond was strong with his daughter. "I was always there for my child. I watch my daughter all the time, but I never knew another man had posession of her." Anderson told us he never knew McAlister. Family members say McAlister and Gallishaw were only dating a few months and he was still a stranger to many. Anderson said, "Just don't be too eager to trust people because you really don't know them." Happach agrees. "Be very careful about who's watching your child," she says. She says warning signs of an abuser are usually visible. "Flashes of anger, impatient with the baby and the baby crying. In many cases abusers are people abused themselves." Her father is left wondering what else he could have done. "As a father I feel like I wasn't there to protect her," says Anderson. "I have an image in my head that I've seen what she went through." And while Christiana's parents may never forgive themselves for what happened, Happach says it's clear McAlister also showed remorse. "The fact that he called 9-11, took the child to the E.R....he clearly knew that something was wrong and he wanted to make it better of course it was too late." Back in September, McAlister was charged with simple possesion of marijuana and unlawfully carrying a weapon. He was later released on bond.

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