Washington Parish Mom Arrested In Toddler Death - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Washington Parish Mom Arrested In Toddler Death

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WASHINGTON PARISH, La. - A mother in Washington Parish was arrested after deputies said she killed her toddler son.

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said deputies arrested Heather Bennett, 28, on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of her 15-month-old son Joshua David Bennett, according to WDSU TV New Orleans.

Joshua died on Sept. 1, the sheriff's office said. After five weeks of investigating, Seal said his office found that the toddler's mother killed her son in a non-accidental death where the primary cause of death was "severe trauma caused by an acceleration/deceleration injury to the brain."

"Joshua's death has been ruled as a homicide. In this case, Joshua's body explained how he died," Seal said.

 Investigators said Bennett's explanation didn't match the injuries observed by Children's Hospital personnel.

"Their position was, in this case, that this is a non-accidental trauma associated with rapid back and forth motion. In layman's terms, it's the shaken baby syndrome," Seal said.

Bennett was arrested on Oct. 10.

"I placed her under arrest. She really didn't have a whole lot to say, didn't show a whole lot of emotion, just asked if she needed to talk to her attorney," said Capt. Tommie Sorrell, of the WPSO Criminal Investigations.

Heather Bennett's family, however, said there is no way she's responsible for the death of her son.

"She's just too good of a person. She is too humble and too good with the babies," said the child's father, Leslie Bennett. "(There's) no doubt in my heart, my soul, my mind (that she didn't do it)."

Heather Bennett's parents and pastor said there is no way she is guilty of killing her son.

"She's just always been a kind and gentle person. I've never believed, never saw anything that would indicate anything of this nature. I don't believe she did anything," said Leon Hickman, of Mt. Zion Pentecostal Church.

Authorities said Heather Bennett will likely appear in a Washington Parish courtroom later in the week or early next week.

"I have an obligation to uphold the law when any tragedy occurs," Seal said. "There was definite probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for Mrs. Bennett and the sheriff's office did what is required by Louisiana law.  I offer my prayers and sympathy for the Bennett family and the entire community that has been affected by this tragedy."

For continuing coverage on this story, please refer to http://www.kalb.com and @kalbtv5. Join the conversation on Twitter at #kalb5.

 

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