Parents of child who died in Louisiana house fire arrested

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LINCOLN PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Deputies with the State Fire Marshal’s Office have arrested the mother and father of a child who died in an August house fire in Lincoln Parish.

32-year-old Jessica Lewis and 37-year-old Christopher Bell were each booked into the Lincoln Parish jail, this week, on one count each of second degree cruelty to a juvenile.

According to the State Fire Marsha’s office, a house fire in August in the 700 block of Highway 821 in Choudrant claimed the life of a 20-month-old boy.

Deputies say his mother was severely burned and the father escaped uninjured.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined however authorities have not ruled out a possible electrical malfunction, according to the SFM.

However, during the child’s autopsy, evidence of abuse was uncovered and following extensive investigative efforts into that evidence, warrants were obtained this week for Lewis and Bell and they were taken into custody in New Mexico.

“This case continues to be a sad situation, “ State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning said.

“But it’s an example of how the work of our deputies often times goes beyond the basic fire investigation. While it’s heartbreaking to learn this child was mistreated before his tragic death in this fire, I am glad that our deputies continued their work to find him justice.”

They both face an additional charge by another agency in connection with an unrelated case.

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