BRPD: Father accused in slaying of infant

Baton Rouge police Thursday arrested the father of an 11-month-old girl who was fatally struck in the head last week.

Larry Leflore, 26, 1819 Carolina St., is accused of striking his daughter, Aaliyah Heard, and causing the blunt-force injuries that led to her death Saturday, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman. Leflore was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on counts of first-degree murder and simple battery, McKneely said.

The battery count stemmed from Leflore allegedly whipping another child, according to court filings.

“We got the information we needed,” McKneely said, adding Leflore had been less than forthcoming with investigators. “We had people in place. It was just a matter of us getting them and talking to them about the case.”

The arrest came three days after Aaliyah’s mother, Ashley Heard, 28, 196 Apartment Court Drive, Apt. 154, was booked with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. She is accused of failing to report her daughter’s extensive injuries to the authorities.

The mother has admitted to knowing about cigarette burns on her daughter’s body, according to an affidavit of probable cause, but she told detectives she “felt that the injuries would go away.”

“She was aware of the abuse,” McKneely said, adding the mother could face additional counts as the investigation continues.

Aaliyah became unresponsive and was rushed by her parents to Baton Rouge General Medical Center-Mid City at 1:15 p.m. Friday. McKneely said the baby’s parents flagged down an Emergency Medical Services vehicle en route the hospital.

Aaliyah died about 11:10 a.m. Saturday. An autopsy showed that Aaliyah suffered a broken right clavicle, bleeding on the brain, retinal hemorrhaging and injuries to the anus, an affidavit of probable cause says.

McKneely said it’s not clear whether the child was sexually abused.

Shane Evans, an investigator with the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office, has said the child appears to have been struck in the head by a human hand.

Several marks, bruises and abrasions discovered during the autopsy also pointed to a history of abuse, he said.

Trey Williams, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services, issued a statement Thursday saying his agency had no “substantiated reports of abuse or neglect” involving the baby before her death.

“DCFS continues to work with law enforcement regarding the events that lead to the death of Aaliyah,” he said in the statement.