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THE INVESTIGATORS: DCFS confirms active case involving death of Nevaeh Allen

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The two people accused of killing 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen are not going to get out of jail at this time after a judge put a hold on their bond. While they remain behind bars, there are new questions as the 9News Investigators have learned the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is looking into what happened to the baby girl.

RELATED: 3 children allegedly killed by their parents in separate incidents across La.

Lanaya Cardwell, the child’s mother was given a $300,000 bond earlier on Friday but hours later, a judge decided to place a hold on her bond until Monday, Oct. 4. Phillip Gardner, Cardwell’s boyfriend, will also stay behind bars until they both go back in front of a judge.

The toddler vanished exactly a week ago. Her disappearance sparked a multi-day search across state lines with investigators combing through the woods in Mississippi before finally finding her body not far from Slidell.

”When we first received a call it was our highest priority to bring Nevaeh home and it saddens me to have to stand here with our partners and hold a press conference to discuss the fact that this beautiful and innocent angel is no longer with us,” Chief Murphy Paul said at a news conference this week.

As more information continues to come out in the case, the 9News Investigators have learned there is an open investigation regarding Nevaeh Allen with DCFS. A spokesperson with the agency would not say if their investigation was already ongoing prior to the girl’s disappearance but the case is active. Typically, DCFS investigates allegations of abuse and neglect with children across the state. While the exact nature of the investigation surrounding Nevaeh is unknown, a police report reveals the baby was allegedly abused by her own mother in the hours leading up to her death.

Nevaeh Allen
Nevaeh Allen(Family)

According to the report, Cardwell allegedly punched Nevaeh after the baby grabbed her contact lenses. The punch was so hard that the 2-year-old was allegedly sent flying back into a cabinet. Gardner told police the mother went off to work before the baby refused to eat and started complaining of stomach pain. At one point, Gardner told investigators the baby was unresponsive and cold. That’s when he reportedly told investigators he tried to get rid of the baby’s body to protect his girlfriend. Records show he is accused of stuffing the child’s body into a small suitcase and driving her to Mississippi before burying her. He threw the child’s clothes in a trashcan and then drove back to Baton Rouge. Investigators say Gardner left his phone in Baton Rouge during the trip so police could not trace it to where he dumped the child’s body.

On the same day, the little girl was reported missing, her mother told the media she had no idea what happened to her child and even organized a search party for her.

RELATED: THE INVESTIGATORS: Full autopsy for Nevaeh Allen could take months

“I don’t know what could have happened. I don’t know what went wrong,” Cardwell said. “I wish I would have stayed home from work. I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Days later police found the girl’s body and arrested the mother and her boyfriend as the first version of what they told police started to unravel. Gardner is being represented by the Public Defender’s Office. That same office cannot represent his girlfriend because of a potential conflict of interest of representing two people in the same case. A private attorney is expected to be appointed to represent her, next week.

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