Baton Rouge couple accused in the death of toddler due in court Monday


BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Lanaya Cardwell and Phillip Gardner are expected in court on Monday morning.

In late September, the mother of two-year-old Nevaeh Allen said that her daughter wandered off when no one was looking.

Gardner was arrested and charged with Unlawful Disposal of Remains and Obstruction of Justice in connection with the disappearance of Nevaeh Allen.

The East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office then ruled that homicide was the cause of death for Nevaeh Allen.

Soon after, Lanaya Cardwell was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder.

This is what we know allegedly took place in connection with the death of Nevaeh Allen:

  • Nevaeh had grabbed her mother’s contact lenses and in response, Cardwell hit the child in the stomach with a closed fist, causing her to fall back, hitting her head on a cabinet.
  • Cardwell’s boyfriend, Phillip Gardner later admitted to police that when he found Nevaeh unresponsive, he put her body in a suitcase and dumped her in Logtown, Mississippi.

The Department of Children and Family Services has opened an investigation into the death of the two-year-old.

A statement from DCFS can be found below:

“We can confirm that we have an open case involving the death of this child. Because there is an open criminal investigation and we are cooperating with law enforcement, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

Lanaya Cardwell is currently pregnant while in jail.

As of Monday morning, both Cardwell and Gardner remain behind bars on a $375,000 bond.

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