Suspect in girl's death captured in Westwego

The body of Ahlittia North was found in a trash dumpster near her Harvey apartment.
The body of Ahlittia North was found in a trash dumpster near her Harvey apartment.

Harvey, La. - Jefferson Parish authorities and Westwego police have arrested a suspect in the death of a 6-year-old girl whose body was found stuffed in a trash can Tuesday.

Matthew Flugence, 20, was questioned by detectives for hours before he was taken to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center Wednesday around 6:15 a.m.

The victim, Ahlittia North, had been stabbed multiple times. The suspect, Matthew Flugence, 20, was arrested Tuesday night in the 800 block of Victory Drive in Westwego. Flugence is a nephew of the girl's stepfather and had babysat Ahlittia and her siblings in the past.

At the time of his arrest, Flugence was armed with a knife, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Col. John Fortunato. He was taken to the Criminal Investigations Bureau for questioning. He will be booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center with one count of first-degree murder and on an outstanding warrant for sexual battery in an unrelated case.

The brother of Matthew Flugence, Russell Flugence, was arrested earlier Tuesday and charged with obstruction of justice after Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said he had information implicating his brother in the murder and did not come forward.

Normand said that Ahlittia's body, discovered overnight, was in a trash can in the vicinity of the girl's apartment complex. Police say surveillance video shows the little girl and her family shopping at a grocery store Friday around 10:30 p.m.

Ahlittia's parents said she was put to bed around 11 p.m., and when they awoke around 8 a.m., she was gone along with her toothbrush and comforter.

The trash can had already been searched over the weekend and investigators are trying to determine when the body was disposed of there.

The trash can was searched again after DNA tests showed that a pool of blood found nearby was that of the missing girl.

The Jefferson Parish coroner said the little girl had "aggressive" stab wounds to her neck and abdomen as well as bruising to her head. The coroner also said there were no signs of sexual assault, although more test results are pending.

 (The Associated Press contributed to this story.)