A Louisiana woman was arrested and charged with murder on Saturday after allegedly kidnapping an infant and burning him to death, police say.
Felicia Marie-Nicole Smith was charged with first-degree murder after firefighters found the body of a 6-month-old baby burned close to the home he was abducted from, WGNO in New Orleans reported.
Levi Cole Ellerbe was found severely burned in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and was air-rushed to a local burn center where he eventually died, Natchitoches police wrote on Facebook.
Ellerbe’s mother told police that on July 17, men came to her house and knocked on her door. After entering her house, the men sprayed her with something she thought could have been pepper spray and she ran from her home trying to escape them, police said.
Upon returning to her house, Ellerbe’s mother realized her infant son had been taken and called the authorities. Officers began searching the area around the home and called in assistance from three other nearby police departments.
After receiving reports of smoke nearby, the fire department discovered the body near a railroad track around one hour after Ellerbe’s mother realized he was missing, WGNO reported.
"I just seen it on fire. I didn't see nobody or nothing,” a Natchitoches resident, Kanika Johnson told The Town Talk in Alexandria. "I just thought some kids might have set it on fire or something. I had called the police and told them to hurry up and send somebody to put the fire out before it spreads."
The infant’s obituary described him as “the happiest baby who always had a big smile.”
“Levi was a blessing to our family and everyone who met him. We will always remember him as our little "Chunky Monkey," the obituary said.
None of the police statements mentioned the nature of the relationship between Ellerbe, his mother and Smith.
The investigation is ongoing and Smith is currently being held in Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.
[Photo: Natchitoches Police Department]