A grandmother allegedly struck her two-year-old granddaughter to death and hid her body in a cooler. LaTonya Austin, 43, is accused of causing the girl post-mortem injuries by stuffing her body in the container after the beating.
Austin viciously attacked Zaila Lee, who died of blunt force trauma to her head, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said. The Cincinnati woman then put Zaila’s body in a cooler, which caused her to sustain a broken arm and a deep laceration, Deters said.
The child’s body was found in trash bags.
‘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.’
The Hamilton County Coronor’s Office ruled Zaila’s death a homicide owed to the blunt force.
Austin was charged with aggravated murder, murder and felonious assault. She had previously been charged with gross abuse of a corpse as well as evidence tampering. Austin could face life in prison if convicted on all charges against her.
The grandmother’s bond was increased to $500,000.
‘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 said.
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