Mon. May 20th, 2024

Lanaya Cardwell, the mother of 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen, and the woman’s boyfriend are now both charged with second-degree murder in connection with the little girl’s death.

The boyfriend, Phillip Gardner, had previously been arrested on lesser charges in the case.

A law enforcement source said Wednesday, Sept. 29 they are still uncertain who allegedly committed the killing and that the investigation continues.

A probable cause report, which should provide more details on the police investigation, is expected to be released Wednesday evening.

Allen was found dead Sunday in a wooded area in Hancock County, Mississippi after she was reported missing from her home in Baton Rouge last Friday.

SEE ALSO: Body Found In Remote Area Of Hancock County Is Missing Louisiana Toddler

An autopsy revealed the death was a homicide. However, investigators said a specific cause of death was not determined and results of more tests, including toxicology tests, are still pending. Investigators have declined to say whether there were any signs of trauma to the girl’s body.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced the arrest of the mother Wednesday afternoon. The chief said it saddens him that “this beautiful, innocent angel is no longer with us.”

The little girl’s name, Neveah, is the “Heaven” spelled backward.

The little girl’s stepfather, Phillip Gardner, was charged in the case earlier this week for allegedly disposing of her body. He was charged with unlawful disposal of human remains and obstruction of justice. A warrant was issued late Wednesday afternoon adding second-degree murder to his charges.

Cardwell claimed she left Navaeh in her boyfriend’s care while she went to work. She claimed Gardner later reported he could not locate the girl.

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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 |