Body of missing Baton Rouge child, 2, found; stepfather arrested

Phillip Gardner has been charged in connection with the disappearance of Nevaeh Allen

The body of a two-year-old who went missing in Baton Rouge on Friday was recovered in Mississippi and her stepfather has been charged in connection with her disappearance. 

Nevaeh Allen was reported missing on Friday when her elder siblings came home from school to find her gone and the door to their apartment open. 

According to WAFB, a local news outlet—Allen’s ‘stepfather,’ Phillip Gardner, was booked into the East Baton Rouge prison on charges of unlawful disposal of remains and obstruction of justice. More charges could be forthcoming pending the outcome of an autopsy. 

Nevaeh Allen (Credit: Baton Rouge Fire Department)

BREAKING: Baton Rouge Police just confirmed the FBI is now involved in the search for 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen.

Here’s the latest with everything we know so far. @WAFB

FULL STORY: https://t.co/MOwHJuyq21

— Perry Robinson, III (@ThePRobReport) September 25, 2021

Phillip Gardner (Credit: Baton Rouge Police)

Another news report refers to Gardner as Nevaeh’s mother’s “live-in boyfriend.” 

The girl’s mother, Lanaya Cardwell, was reportedly at work when she got the call that the toddler was missing. She told police she left her children with Gardner on Friday.

The FBI joined the investigation once Baton Rouge Police began to believe that the girl was taken across state lines. Her body was found in Mississippi—and returned to Baton Rouge. 

In an interview shared by WVLA to Facebook before her daughter’s body was found, Cardwell said that her daughter is “not known for wandering around.” She added, “I never once had to correct Nevaeh for even leaving the house without an adult. Nevaeh knows better.”

Gardner’s mother, Kim Holmes, told WBRZ, “I can’t see my son hurting a child.” 

The uncle of the missing girl, Casey Amacker, said, “It should be the last two adults to see them kids, they need to be questioned.” He is Cardwell’s brother.  

He added that while he doesn’t think his sister had anything to do with the girl’s disappearance or her death, that he understands why she is being questioned. 

He added, “I think that [police] should take everybody, the two adults, and ask them the full questions because who can identify anything about her leaving this room right here and walking down these stairs. The story don’t make no sense.”

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