A Baton Rouge man awaiting trial on a child abuse charge and his girlfriend were arrested Wednesday night in the kidnapping of a toddler whose mother was found shot to death earlier this week.
Curtis King, who was charged with second-degree cruelty to juveniles after his 6-month-old son died in November 2013, was arrested Wednesday after police learned he picked up 2-year-old A’Kyleana Louise Latham on Saturday from her Louisiana Avenue home and took her to his South Harrell’s Ferry Drive apartment, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a Baton Rouge police spokesman.
King, 24, and his live-in girlfriend, Daaria Thomas, kept Latham several days before dropping her off at The Women’s Help Center on Scenic Highway on Tuesday afternoon, McKneely said.
Neither King nor Thomas spoke Wednesday night while being escorted by police from the Violent Crimes Unit to separate police cars, which took them to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Both were expected to be booked on counts of aggravated kidnapping of a child, McKneely said.
While the arrests shed light on the whereabouts of Latham during her disappearance, questions remained about what happened to her mother.
Taylor Latham, 24, was found shot to death inside a Ford Mustang on Monday near her Louisiana Avenue home.
She and her daughter had lived there only a few months, having recently moved from Texas, before the shooting occurred.
Police said Wednesday it’s unclear whether King and Thomas knew the Lathams. It also wasn’t clear why the toddler ended up in their care.
The investigation into Taylor Latham’s death remains active, police said.
King was arrested in November 2013 following the death of his 6-month-old son, Aiden King, who in his short life suffered multiple rib fractures and significant burns after being placed in scalding bath water.
A Coroner’s Office investigation determined Aiden King’s primary cause of death was an inability to breathe in an oversize bed, although there wasn’t enough evidence to determine whether the death was a homicide or an accident.
The infant was found unresponsive in a bed in October and was taken off life support several weeks later.
An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury declined to indict Curtis King on second-degree murder in March 2014, instead choosing to charge him with second-degree cruelty to juveniles and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
When he was initially being booked into Parish Prison on a murder count and the cruelty count, King’s bail was set at $170,000.
After the grand jury declined to indict him on the murder count, the bail was lowered to $20,000.
King posted it and was released on March 26, 2014, court records show.
In addition to the cruelty charge, King was accused of placing his son in the bed while he prepared marijuana for sale, and authorities found nearly a pound of marijuana inside his home when they searched it in 2013.
Thomas was not arrested or charged in Aiden King’s death.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday night how much the bail would be for King and Thomas.
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