LAFAYETTE — Authorities in Evangeline Parish have arrested a Turkey Creek woman accused of beating her 15-month-old daughter from head to toe on April 14, giving the girl alcohol and waiting four hours to seek medical help.
Ayla M. Lynch, 22, was booked this week on one count of first-degree murder in the death of Brooklyne Mann, who was dead on arrival at a hospital, Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Capt. Mike Perry said Friday.
“Mom and boyfriend get into an argument, mom was not happy and the little girl was the nearest thing to her to take out her frustrations on,” said Perry, chief investigator for the Sheriff’s Office.
Lynch was suspected in the slaying when Brooklyne died, Perry said, but it’s taken months to gather evidence that the District Attorney’s Office will take to a grand jury on Sept. 25.
Perry said hospital officials alerted law enforcement authorities after seeing Brooklyne’s body.
“The body had bruises from her head to her toes,” Perry said. Investigators believe Lynch used her fists to strike the child, he said.
Lynch has other children and has had run-ins with police and state child welfare officials before, Perry said.
Perry did not state whether Lynch has custody of the other children, or if they were with her on April 14.
Perry said detectives believe Lynch started beating Brooklyne at 2 p.m., and didn’t seek medical attention for her until 6 p.m. And even then, Perry said, Lynch stopped at a store to buy cigarettes en route to the hospital.
“Lynch has been at the forefront of the investigation from the start of the investigation, but with additional information and several days of speaking with Lynch she was arrested Aug. 29 ...,” reads a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.
Lynch remained in the Evangeline Parish jail on Friday. A bond hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in 13th Judicial District Court in Ville Platte, Perry said.
“She’s already made the statement that if she gets out she’s gone,” Perry said.
Lynch’s arrest comes two months after an investigation in East Baton Rouge Parish in which a Baton Rouge mother was booked with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the death of 11-month-old Aaliyah Heard. In that case in late June, an autopsy revealed that the baby died of blunt force trauma to the head and had several marks, bruises and abrasions, in addition to cigarette burns.
The Heard investigation came two weeks after a Baton Rouge mother and her partner were booked with first-degree murder in the death of 23-month-old Justyce Cheatham. In that case, an autopsy revealed the boy received several suspicious injuries and that he died from blunt force head injuries.
In another child beating death in April in Baton Rouge, 18-month-old Azaria Johnson died of blunt force trauma to the head after she was struck by her mother’s boyfriend, authorities have said.
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