Mother of infant whose remains were found in a Lafayette storage bin had another child she gave to the custody of relatives _lowres

Rebecca Landry

Rebecca A. Landry, booked on a murder count Thursday after the remains of an infant she gave birth to 14 years ago were found, had given birth just a year earlier to another child whom she ultimately handed over to relatives.

Lafayette police arrested Landry, 57, after the remains of the infant were discovered in a storage unit by a man who had purchased the unit and its contents in an auction from Bridge Storage in the 2100 block of Verot School Road.

Landry told police she gave birth to the child in her apartment in late 2001 and placed the baby’s body in a box after the infant stopped breathing several days later, never seeking medical attention, according to the affidavit for her arrest.

About a year earlier, Landry had given birth to a son who lived with her parents before she asked her own daughter and son-in-law in 2008 to care for the child, according to court records filed to transfer custody.

The brief court filings in the case state no one knew who the father was and the arrangement was for “the best interest and best welfare of the minor child.”

The relatives involved could not be reached for comment Friday.

Landry told detectives she initially kept the box containing the baby’s remains in her apartment but in 2002 brought the box to her mother’s storage unit, where it remained until an employee at the facility reported the discovery to police about 8:20 a.m. Thursday.

Landry was booked on second-degree murder within four hours, after investigators tracked her down through business records and linked her to other items found in the storage unit.

On Friday morning, 15th Judicial District Commissioner Thomas Frederick ruled she be held without bail pending a court hearing on Monday.

At Friday’s hearing, conducted via video from the jail, Landry said she could not afford a lawyer and was referred to the Public Defender’s Office for legal representation.

No attorney had been assigned the case as of Friday afternoon, but the director of the 15th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, attorney G. Paul Marx, questioned why police booked her on murder.

“It seems like a tremendous stretch before you have medical evidence,” Marx said. “Clearly a deceased baby doesn’t establish a homicide.”

If investigators have evidence of how the child died, they have not said.

The affidavit for Landry’s arrest states only that the baby stopped breathing and that Landry did not seek medical attention.

“The defendant has other children and is knowledgeable of the consequences of not seeking medical treatment for infants,” the affidavit states.

Fifteenth Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes, in an email, said questions about the appropriate charge in the case “cannot be answered simply without the benefit of a full and objective investigation and presentation of all of the relevant facts.”

“I await the completion of that investigation and a diligent review,” he said.

Landry faces life in prison if convicted on second-degree murder.

Follow Richard Burgess on Twitter, @rbb100.