Stepfather arrested in toddler's disappearance, police fear the 'unimaginable'
Baton Rouge officials arrested the stepfather of a missing 2-year-old girl when the child went missing, and authorities fear the toddler is dead.
Nevaeh Allen was reported missing Friday after her older siblings came home after school and noticed the door to their apartment was open and the toddler had disappeared, Louisiana State Police said at the time. Her stepfather Phillip Gardner told authorities that he took a nap around 1 p.m. and that was the last time he saw Neveah.
Nevaeh Allen. (Baton Rouge Police Department)
Gardner has been charged with unlawful disposal of remains and obstruction of justice, Baton Rouge police said Sunday. Baton Rouge Police Department Sgt. L’Jean McKneely, Jr. said authorities are currently looking for Neveah's body, according to NBC subsidiary WVLA.
"Evidence and interviews point to the unimaginable," McKneely said. "The baby could be dead."
It is unclear whether Gardner hired a lawyer. Inmate records show he was booked into East Baton Rouge Prison and remained in custody Sunday afternoon.
Nevaeh's mother, Lanaya Cardwell, tearfully told reporters Friday that she was at work when her daughter went missing and that it wasn't like the toddler was running away. Cardwell said the last time she saw her daughter was before she started work and that Neveah, affectionately known as Nu Nu, was wearing a yellow and pink dress with a pineapple on it.
"Nevaeh isn't known for walking around," Cardwell said. “I never had to correct Nevaeh for leaving the house without an adult. Nevaeh knows better. "
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