Mon. May 20th, 2024

A South Fairmount woman now faces murder charges for the death of her two-year-old granddaughter. LaTonya Austin was previously only charged with gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Austin struck her granddaughter, Zaila Lee, on March 24, causing her death.

He also said Zaila suffered a deep laceration and a broken arm, after her death.

The little girl’s body was found in a cooler on Austin’s property.

“It is impossible to comprehend the depravity of an individual able to, not only strike a 2-year-old so hard to cause her death, but to then attempt to conceal that crime by stuffing the child’s lifeless body into a cooler. As a father and a grandfather, I am sick,” said Deters in a news release. “I am saying a prayer for this victim’s siblings, and the members of the Cincinnati Police Department who had to process and investigate this horrible scene.

Related: New Documents Reveal What Grandmother Told Police in Death of 2-Year-Old Granddaughter

Austin is charged with aggravated murder, murder and felonious assault, in addition to her original charges. Deters said she could face life in prison if she’s convicted.

Austin was arrested on May 9. She’s locked up on a $500,000 bond on the initial charges.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born |