Mother of kidnapped baby who was set on fire, left to die, arrested in connection with his death

Mother of kidnapped baby who was set on fire, left to die, arrested in connection with his death
Murdered baby, mother, and accomplice (Images: Family photo police photos)

When I first learned about the story of a Louisiana baby who was set on fire and left to die on some railroad trucks, I was numb. The heinousness of the crime was so beyond comprehension for me initially that I could form no cohesive thoughts.

I said a prayer for the child, 6-month-old Levi Cole Ellerbe, and for his parents, whose grief and pain must be beyond imagining.

Or so I thought until I read this morning that the mother of the dead child was apparently in on his murder. New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO reports:

Police in Natchitoches have arrested the mother of a 6-month-old baby who was burned to death about a mile away from the home where his mother said he was kidnapped.

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According to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, 23-year-old Hannah Barker, the infant’s mother, is the second person arrested in connection with the baby’s death.

Barker’s original story to police — that two men forced their way into her trailer, pepper sprayed her, and absconded with the infant child — now seems to be fraudulent. She and Felicia Marie-Nicole Smith, the woman arrested last weekend and charged with first-degree murder, knew each other.

Barker has now also been charged with first-degree murder. Details of her involvement in the crime have yet to be released.

In the meantime, this case continues to raise questions for which I can find no answer. The $64 question is how a mother can do something so brutal, so inhumane, to a life she once nurtured and carried. This child was made to suffer mightily before he died. If he was somehow a burden to the mother, was there no less depraved remedy for easing the load?

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.