Baton Rouge police have arrested a suspect in connection with the death of his 2-year-old stepdaughter whose remains were discovered on Sunday.
Phillip Gardner, 30, was booked in East Baton Rouge Prison and charged with unlawful disposal of remains and obstruction of justice, BRPD said in a press release.
Gardner’s arrest came two days after the department asked the public’s help in finding Navaeh Allen, a 2-year-old girl, who had gone missing earlier in the day from the La Belle Aire area.
The girl’s mother, Lanaya Cardwell, told FOX 44 that Allen’s stepfather had put her down for a nap around 1 p.m. She said her oldest child came home a few hours later, finding the door open and Nevaeh missing.
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Multiple agencies helped BRPD in the search for the toddler, including the FBI, Louisiana State Police, and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.
The Hancock County coroner told WAFB that the child’s body was found in the Pearlington area of Mississippi, which sits along the border of Louisiana and is about 100 miles east of Baton Rouge. An autopsy is pending to determine the child’s cause of death.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Gardner has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
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No further details were released, and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with details on the investigation is urged to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at 225-389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.