Mom Of 2-Year-Old Nevaeh Allen Charged In Her Killing
The 2-year-old was being taken care of by her mother's live-in boyfriend, who was described as the toddler's stepfather.
September 26, 2021 at 6:23 pm
Update (Sept. 29, 2021): The mother of a 2-year-old whose body was found in a wooded area has been charged with her daughter's murder, WAFB reports.
Nevaeh Allen's body was discovered on Sunday in a wooded area in Hancock County, Mississippi, after being reported missing from her home in Baton Rouge on Friday.
Lanaya Cardwell's boyfriend Phillip Gardner was arrested in connection with the case, but they were both charged with her death on Wednesday. They are being charged with second-degree murder.
Officials say Nevaeh was being taken care of by Gardner, who was described by Cardwell as her stepfather, WBRZ reports. Gardner initially said the little girl disappeared after he fell asleep, but later changed his story and said he found her unresponsive and dumped her body in the woods, police say.
Gardner is also being charged with obstruction of justice and unlawful disposal of remains.
Authorities remain uncertain who killed the 2-year-old and are awaiting the results on her cause of death.
Original (Sept. 29, 2021): Two days after 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen went missing from her home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police found the toddler's body on Sunday, reports KIRO 7. Prior to the discovery of the body, Nevaeh's stepfather, Phillip Gardner, had been arrested on charges of unlawful disposal of remains and obstruction of justice.
According to WAFB, earlier in the day, officials said they had credible information that led them to presume the child was dead. They'd suspected her body was located outside of Louisiana. She was found in the state's Hancock County area.
According to The Advocate, the little girl was last seen around 1 p.m. on Friday. Nevaeh's stepfather had set her down for a nap in their apartment.
The child's siblings, who returned from school after 4 p.m. on that day, said they noticed that the apartment door was open and their sister was gone. Lanaya Cardwell, who relatives say had an unhealthy and violent relationship with Gardner, said she was at work when she was notified about her missing daughter, WBKO reports.
Police announced a statewide search for the girl later that night. Officials said the toddler had last been seen without shoes and wearing a yellow dress with pineapples.
The search continued into Saturday evening as the family was still waiting for updates from authorities. While waiting for answers, the family received a call about a public agency possibly taking custody of other children in the family.
UPDATE: We’re going on 24 hours since anyone has seen 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen.
WHAT WE KNOW:
– stepdad took a nap at 1 p.m. Friday
– siblings got home at 4:30
– door was unlocked, Nevaeh was gone
– last seen with yellow dress w/ pineapples
– FBI now involved
– No updates @WAFB
— Perry Robinson, III (@ThePRobReport) September 25, 2021
Neighbors in the apartment said they often saw Nevaeh walking outside with her mother.
"We always see that little girl," said Stara Vidaurreta, the family's neighbor. "It just broke my heart. I don't know what I would do. I got four of my own and a grandbaby. I would literally go nuts."
After issuing a Level II Endangered/Missing Child Advisory on Friday night, police took Gardner and Cardwell for questioning Saturday as part of routine procedure. The FBI also became involved as the search began. But officials canceled the advisory on Sunday and took in the 30-year-old stepfather.