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Mother, boyfriend plead not guilty in 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen's murder

3 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago Monday, February 07 2022 Feb 7, 2022 February 07, 2022 9:34 PM February 07, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A couple accused of beating a toddler to death and then faking the girl's disappearance was formally charged with her murder Jan. 27 and plead not guilty Feb. 7. 

Court records show a grand jury indicted Phillip Gardner and Lanaya Cardwell, each on a count of second-degree murder, in the death of 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen. Gardner also faces a charge for obstruction of justice.

The pair was arrested in September after a sprawling search for the missing girl ended with her body being found inside a suitcase in a wooded area of Mississippi. Cardwell initially claimed Nevaeh vanished from her Baton Rouge apartment, but police later uncovered that Gardner dumped the 2-year-old's body after he found her unresponsive at their home. 

Cardwell and Gardner were later accused of physically abusing the 2-year-old girl, leaving her with grave injuries that ultimately killed her.

Both are currently jailed in East Baton Rouge on $375,000 bonds.

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