The Monday death of a 2-year-old Baton Rouge girl has been ruled a homicide by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office.
Da’Laijah Smith died of “severe blunt-force injuries” to her head, neck, chest and stomach, and suffered abrasions and contusions on her arms and legs as well as rib fractures, said Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark in a Wednesday afternoon release.
Police say Da’Laijah Smith died shortly after her mother, Candice Smith, 21, shoved her against a shower wall at the Beechwood Drive home where they lived.
The child was found unresponsive with bruises across her body as well as fingernail marks on her arms and legs, police have said. Medical staff performed CPR but were unable to save her, and she was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Police say that Smith admitted to shoving her child against the wall. She was arrested and booked into Parish Prison on a count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. After the coroner’s report was issued, Smith was booked on first-degree murder.
Officers had been called to the home, in the 7000 block of Beechwood Drive, on several occasions for domestic disturbances involving adults, said Cpl. Don Coppola, a Baton Rouge Police spokesman.
“It’s hurting me bad,” Smith’s boyfriend, Terrell Gilmore, 21, said Tuesday of the child’s death. “I was just running around and playing with this child yesterday. To hear that she’s gone, I mean it still hasn’t registered in my mind. Reality hasn’t really hit.”