COLUMBUS – A Hamilton woman was charged during the weekend with attempting to murder her 2-year-old daughter. The incident stemmed from a case the Columbus Police Department are investigating when she drove her car into the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway at the Columbus Lock and Dam Sept. 21 with the child inside the vehicle.

Cari Cullum, 34, had her initial court appearance Sept. 30 in Lowndes County Justice Court, and her bond was at $400,000. Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton said the next morning she was still being detained.

According to a press release from Columbus Information Officer Joe Dillon, Cullum is the mother of three children. The press release states police believe she intentionally drove her vehicle into Columbus Lake with her youngest child inside the vehicle.

“Following a detailed investigation, we have charged Ms. Cullum with attempted murder. This is a tragic case, and we believe this was not an accident. Our investigation continues into the incident. Her children are in the care of another person at this time,” Shelton said in the press release.

When police arrived, Cullum and her daughter had already been pulled from the car by a friend. The friend told police he had to break a car window to remove the pair. The incident was called into 911 at 3:19 a.m. on Sept. 21, according to the press release.

The press release states the car was in the water on the boat ramp at the Columbus Lake off Wilkins Wise Road when the CPD and Columbus Fire and Rescue officials arrived. The car had been backed into the lake. Police are not saying how much of the car was submerged.

Cullum and the child were hospitalized after they were found inside the vehicle, according to initial reports by the Associated Press.

The child’s biological father, who lives in Monroe County, said since the incident he has been granted full custody of the child.

Shelton said he cannot release any further information at this time.

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