Mother charged with 2-year-old daughter’s death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The death of a toddler is now classified as a homicide, and her mother has been charged with the crime.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter has more on the events that led to the child’s death and reaction from family members.

“It’s horrible, everyone is upset, and everyone can’t believe it because it’s unbelievable,” family friend Vanessa Scott said. “(We) never saw it coming.”

Friends visiting the family’s Gentilly home are still coming to terms with the unexpected death of little Zion Harris.

The wide-eyed, 2-year old who’s now being remembered.

“She was a loveable little child; she always wanted to be around you,” Scott said. “She always wanted to be on your back.”

That was until Tuesday afternoon,

Family members say the toddler wasn’t herself, while playing with siblings at City Park.

She became unresponsive, and had to be rushed to the hospital; where doctors discovered she’d suffered a lacerated liver.

It was an injury family members and friends never suspected.

The child appeared healthy an hour earlier while with her mother.

“Right before they left to go to the park she fed them,” family friend Tracy Davis said. “She had a bowl on this lap a bowl on this lap, a spoon in this bowl a spoon in this bowl.” “She cools it off, she fed this one, she fed that one, and she fed that one.” “When they were finished eating she bathed them, she dressed them she combed their hair and then they left to out to the park,” Davis continued.

The Orleans Parish Coroner has classified the death a homicide, due to blunt force trauma.

A police investigation turned to the child’s mother, Michelle Harris, 29. She’s now under arrest.

“I don’t know if she spanked them and spanked her too hard,” Scott said.

“I don’t know what happened, what went wrong. She’s a good mother,”  Davis said.

Investigators say Michelle Harris struck her daughter for being disobedient.

She’s been booked with second degree murder.

Harris’ other two children are in the care of family members.