According to Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage, on September 26, two-year-old Nevaeh Allen’s body was found in Hancock County, Louisiana. Her stepfather was charged in connection with her disappearance.
WAFB reported that investigators thought Allen’s body would possibly be found outside of Louisiana but were called to search for the child in Logtown and ended up locating her.
“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.”
The little girl’s stepfather, Phillip Gardner, was arrested on charges of unlawful disposal of remains and obstruction of justice.
The child was last seen early Friday afternoon when Gardner had reportedly laid her down for a nap in their apartment.
Allens’s other siblings stated that they noticed the apartment where they live had the front door open, and their sister was gone. The baby’s mother, Lanaya Cardwell, had a history of domestic abuse with Gardner and was at work when she was notified that her daughter was missing.
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While authorities searched for Allen, Cardwell was alerted that her other children could be taken into a public agency’s custody.
Baton Rouge Police Department (BRDP) took Allen’s mother and stepfather into custody for questioning as part of standard procedure in this type of case. Still, Gardner was ultimately charged with his bond set at $75,000 on Monday.
According to BRPD, he could still face more additional charges based on the autopsy results. Police will hold a news conference about the incident in the upcoming days.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office stated that a complete autopsy for Allen could take up to 90 days, at which point Gardner could receive more charges.
Allen would have turned three years old in February.