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Mom booked on cruelty charges following toddler\'s death

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BATON ROUGE - The mother of a toddler has been arrested in Baton Rouge following the death of her two-year-old daughter.

According to police, emergency officials were called to a home on Beechwood St. around 9 p.m. Monday night for an unresponsive toddler. CPR was performed and the 2-year-old was rushed to a nearby hospital but didn't survive.

Investigators say Candice Smith, 21, pushed her daughter, Da'Laijah, causing her head to smash against the wall of the shower. Arresting officers say she also admitted to several other acts of physical abuse.

"The child was supposedly pushed, striking her head against the shower wall, again the mother did admit to that, along with other abuse, the bruising over her extremities, along with the finger nail marks," said Cpl. Don Coppola with BRPD.

News 2 spoke with the child's step-father who said he never saw Smith abuse the child, but knew she harbored ill feelings toward the toddler.

Candice Smith was booked for 2nd Degree Cruelty to Juveniles. That charge could be upgraded to first degree murder and she could face additional charges, once investigators learn the results of an autopsy.

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