WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Update: A warrant for second-degree murder for John Harper has been filed.
How did the authorities come to charge Harper with second-degree murder? The following is all according to documents filed with the 4th Judicial District Court.
(See bottom of the article if you need recap.)
The Mother's Story
Gavin's mother, Lindsey McBride, told investigators that she was at work on April 2nd and left her son with Harper that morning at his home on the 300 block of Smith Street in the West Monroe area.
McBride said that Harper called her later saying that Gavin was burned after jumping into a bathtub of hot water. When McBride saw the injuries, she said Harper asked her not to get help fearing the authorities would suspect child abuse. McBride instead applied over the counter medicine to treat the burns and pain instead.
Later that week, McBride said, Harper visited her home and spent the night. The next day, April 5th, she let Harper babysit Gavin again, this time at her home instead of his. McBride said she worked for most of the day and had sushi with a friend around 2 PM. She later went to a ballgame in which another of her sons was involved.
When she arrived home, McBride said, Harper's vehicle was gone so she immediately went to Harper's home on Smith Street.
When she arrived, she said, she found Gavin on the couch, unresponsive. Harper said the boy was sleeping, but McBride took the boy to the hospital.
The Doctor's Story
According to doctors, 2-year-old Gavin suffered two different brain injuries, although it was unclear which happened first. One injury was bleeding to the brain, which may have been caused by shaking the child. The other was oxygen deprivation, which they said was caused by chocking for ten minutes.
Bruises on the child's neck and shoulders, the doctors say, indicated that the boy was pushed or held down on a sofa or cushion.
As for the previous burns, doctors say they were severe and would have been very painful. They say that it is unlikely that the child would have been able to walk or wear a diaper during that time.
Gavin Lowery died a week later.
Authorities have arrested two people after a 2-year-old boy was hospitalized with severe burns and bruises all over his body. The boy was also possibly choked and allegedly tested positive for amphetamines.
One of the people arrested, Lindsay Dianne McBride of West Monroe, is the boy's mother.
According to court records, the child was taken to Glenwood Regional Medical Center on April 5th around 8:30 PM and then airlifted to LSU Shreveport with severe injuries. The records indicate that the 2-year-old was then treated for second-degree burns to both legs, genitals, and buttocks as well as splash burns to his face and bruises, both new and old.
Records indicate that McBride said the boy was injured roughly a day and a half earlier when he fell down some steps at her home and then pulled a pot of hot water off of the stove a short time later.
Authorities say the other person arrested was John Harper. McBride was allegedly trying to begin a romantic relationship with Harper. Harper was staying with McBride and her child that week. Records indicate that Harper was babysitting the child that week instead of the child's normal babysitter.
Records also state that child may have been deprived of oxygen for an unknown amount of time and was mostly brain dead.
Harper and McBride are charged with second-degree cruelty to juveniles. More charges are pending.