Stepfather Arrested After Missing Baton Rouge Toddler Found Dead In Mississippi

The search for Nevaeh Allen ended in tragedy.

A missing toddler from Baton Rouge was found dead in Mississippi on Sunday (Sept. 26), and authorities arrested her stepfather in connection to her disappearance, NBC News reported. 

Nevaeh Allen, 2, was reported missing Friday (Sept. 24) from her home and recovered in Hancock County, Miss., the news outlet said, citing the Baton Rouge Police Department.

The toddler’s older siblings came home from school to find their apartment door open and Nevaeh, who was known as NU Nu to her loved ones, was missing, the Louisiana State Police said.

Phillip Gardner, her stepfather, told investigators that he last saw Nevaeh before he took a nap at about 1 p.m. Friday. 

RELATED: Missing Pennsylvania Toddler Allegedly Kidnapped By Uber Driver Found Dead In Park

However, the toddler’s mother, Lanaya Cardwell, stated to reporters that her daughter had no history of wandering away from their home. 

“I never once had to correct Nevaeh for leaving the house without an adult. Nevaeh knows better,” said Cardwell, who last saw her daughter alive Friday morning when she went to work. 

The distraught mother shared her story.

The Baton Rouge police arrested Gardner Sunday on charges of unlawful disposal of remains and obstruction of justice. He was booked into the East Baton Rouge Prison. 

An autopsy was expected to be performed by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office, reported. Additional charges against Gardner are possible after the coroner determines the cause of death.

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