LaTonya Austin, a 43-year-old Cincinnati grandmother, is facing murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old granddaughter, after allegedly striking the child and hiding her body in a cooler.
Austin is charged with aggravated murder, murder, and felonious assault in the death of her granddaughter, Zaila Lee. According to Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters, Lee died as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head after Austin struck her.
Austin then hid Zaila’s body in a cooler, causing additional post-mortem injuries, including a deep laceration and broken arm, according to Deters.
“It is impossible to comprehend the depravity of an individual able to, not only strike a two-year-old so hard to cause her death, but to then attempt to conceal that crime by stuffing the child’s lifeless body into a cooler,” Deters said in a statement. “As a father and a grandfather, I am sick.”
“I am saying a prayer for this victim’s siblings, and the members of the Cincinnati Police Department who had to process and investigate this horrible scene,” Deters added.
Austin had previously been charged with evidence tampering and gross abuse of a corpse. If convicted on all charges, Austin faces life in prison.
[Image courtesy WKRC Cincinnatti/Local 12]
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