Stepfather to police: Mother punched toddler in stomach with closed fist, causing toddler to fall, hit head

Published 7:34 am Thursday, September 30, 2021

New information has been revealed about the death of a Louisiana toddler who was found dead in South Mississippi.

According to Baton Rouge news sources, Phillip Gardner, the stepfather of two-year-old Nevaeh Allen, told authorities that Allen’s mother, Lanaya Cardwell, punched the toddler in the stomach with a closed fist when the tw0-year-old went into the bathroom and grabbed Cardwell’s contact lenses. Gardner said Allen then fell and hit her head on a cabinet.

According to reports Gardner said he noticed Allen crying with a bruise on her forehead. Gardner said he then took Cardwell to work and returned home with Allen, who later refused to eat and complained of stomach pain.

Gardner then said he found Allen unresponsive after the toddler laid down on the couch.

According to Gardner, he attempted to give Allen CPR, but she was cold and lifeless. He did admit to not calling 911 and leaving his cell phone at home so police could not track it.

Gardner then said he put the remains of Allen in a suitcase, put the suitcase in his car and drove to Mississippi to dispose of her remains. Gardner then said he disposed of the suitcase and Allen’s clothing in a trashcan.

Gardner confessed to making a false missing person report, according to police.