BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Baton Rouge Police have released affidavits describing what happened to two-year-old Nevaeh Allen.

According to the affidavit, detectives learned that in the early morning hours of Friday, Sept. 24, Lanaya Cardwell punched the child in the chest out of anger after the toddler picked up Cardwell’s contact lenses. As a result, Nevaeh fell backward and hit her head on a cabinet. Later in the day, Nevaeh complained of stomach pain and did not eat. Documents said according to Gardner the child went to lie down and was found unresponsive.

Click here to read the arrest affidavit for Lanaya Cardwell

The arrest affidavit for Gardner stated that he attempted CPR, but his life-saving efforts were not successful. When asked why he did not make a 911 call, he could not explain, according to documents.

Gardner admitted to putting her body into a small suitcase and disposing of her body in Mississippi to protect Cardwell, according to arrest documents. Gardner told authorities that he traveled to the neighboring state with the three-year-old and 11-month-old in his care before returning home and reporting Nevaeh as missing to police.

Click here to read the arrest affidavit for Phillip Gardner

An autopsy found “multiple contusions to the face and head along with swelling to the brain,” according to arrest documents. Documents said marks and bruises were also seen on the body along with injuries to the stomach.


BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Baton Rouge Police held a press conference regarding the Nevaeh Allen investigation where Chief Murphy Paul confirmed that the mother, Lanaya Cardwell, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Police said Phillip Gardner’s charges now include second-degree murder.

Gardner, the mother’s boyfriend, was arrested for his involvement in two-year-old Nevaeh Allen’s disappearance.

According to Baton Rouge Police Department, Gardner was arrested Saturday night and booked in East Baton Rouge Prison. Gardner has been charged with Unlawful Disposal of Remains and Obstruction of Justice. His bond was set at $75,000.

Nevaeh Allen’s body was found in Hancock County in Mississippi, police said. Baton Rouge Police say Phillip Gardner claimed he found Nevaeh unresponsive Friday afternoon. They said he later dumped her body in a wooded area in Mississippi.

On Monday, Sept. 27, the EBR Coroner’s Office officially ruled the manner of death as a homicide. The official cause of death is pending.

Gardner and Cardwell are booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.