The body of 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen has been found and her stepfather, Phillip Gardner, has been arrested in connection with the crime. Baton Rouge police officers spent all weekend looking for the child and found her body in the Logtown area of Hancock County, Mississippi.
Phillip Gardner was arrested this weekend after it was discovered that Nevaeh had disappeared from their Baton Rouge home. He was charged with unlawful disposal of remains and obstruction of justice according to police.
The toddler’s siblings came home Friday afternoon to find the door to their apartment wide open and Nevaeh nowhere to be found. According to Phillip Gardner, he went to lie down at 1 p.m. after putting Nevaeh down for a nap and that was the last time he saw the little girl. Nevaeh’s mother, Lanaya Cardwell, said that it was not like her daughter to just run off without an adult.
“Nevaeh is not known for wandering around,” Cardwell said. “I never once had to correct Nevaeh for even leaving the house without an adult. Nevaeh knows better.”
Cardwell last saw her daughter the morning of her disappearance and told the public that the toddler was wearing a yellow and pink dress with pineapples on it. The mother had been at work all day and received a call that her daughter was missing.
Police started an investigation and search into Nevaeh Allen’s disappearance Friday afternoon. By Saturday, members of the FBI from New Orleans and Jackson, Miss. were called in to help with the search.
Nevaeh Allen’s body was found Sunday after officers questioned the stepfather and discovered that he had disposed of the toddler’s body across state lines in Mississippi. Police are investigating whether or not the toddler was killed. A cause of death has yet to be determined and an autopsy is scheduled for this Tuesday at the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office.
Phillip Gardner may face additional charges depending on the results of the toddler’s autopsy.
Nevaeh’s uncle, Casey Amacker, said that the story of his niece’s disappearance and death makes no sense and believes that more questioning is needed. He said, “I think that [police] should take everybody, the two adults, and ask them the full questions because who can identify anything about her leaving this room right here and walking down these stairs. The story don’t make no sense.”
While he doesn’t believe his sister had anything to do with her daughter’s disappearance, he understands why police feel the need to question her. He just wants answers to the tragic death of the toddler.
Police officers will have a press conference sometime this week to update the public on this tragic death. Neveah Allen would have celebrated her 3rd birthday this February.
A similar crime happened last week in New York City. A 4-year-old boy was found dead in a Brooklyn apartment and his stepfather was arrested in connection to his death. According to police, the toddler had been beaten to death by his stepfather.
The boy was taken to Brooklyn Hospital after his mother flagged down police, and he was pronounced dead soon after.
The toddler, identified by police as Jaycee Eubanks, was discovered after his mother alerted police around 5:35 AM. One neighbor said that she heard screaming coming from their unit in the Gowanus Houses on Baltic Street, but was too scared to help.
“I heard a lot of screaming,” said the neighbor. “‘He can’t breathe, he can’t breathe,’ that’s what I heard. I was sleeping, and I was so scared to go out and see what was going on.”
The boy’s stepfather has been charged with murder and has been arrested for his crimes. According to police, abuse allegations had been reported before the death of the toddler, but the officers failed to look into the allegations further.
Police will now be investigating the home and the stepfather to determine whether it is safe for Jaycee Eubank’s older brother.