Gretna police charge woman with murder in October death of toddler _lowres

Ardella Lorio

The Gretna Police Department has booked the woman whose 3-year-old nephew died while in her care in October with second-degree murder.

Ardella Lorio, 34, was arrested two days after the Oct. 19 incident and booked on one count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile pending an examination of Jamell Brown by pathologists with the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office.

Gretna Deputy Police Chief Anthony Christiana Jr. confirmed Tuesday that the charge has increased to second-degree murder.

Police say Lorio told investigators that the child was hanging on an iron gate and fell after Lorio closed it, but the examination found the cause of death was blunt head trauma, Coroner Gerry Cvitanovitch said.

“Our pathologist found the injuries are not consistent with the history given by (Lorio),” he said.

Lorio and the boy’s uncle brought him to Ochsner Medical Center’s West Bank campus but left shortly before the staff could contact police about the child’s suspicious injuries. The boy was taken off life support at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans two days later.

Investigators determined the boy’s uncle was not present when the child was injured.

Lorio is in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center awaiting a decision on charges by the District Attorney’s office.

Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.