Gentilly mom booked in death of 2-year-old - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Gentilly mom booked in death of 2-year-old

Zion Harris Zion Harris
Michelle Harris (OPSO) Michelle Harris (OPSO)

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans police have booked the mother of a 2-year-old who died Tuesday.

Michelle Harris, 27, faces second-degree murder after she allegedly admitted to police that she struck the child for not listening to her, according to New Orleans police spokesman Officer Garry Flot.

The incident occurred Tuesday at about 1:30 p.m. in the 4100 block of Gibson Street. The girl, Zion Harris, later died at Tulane Medical Center.

Police reports show that Zion's stepfather called Harris after he had taken Zion to City Park Tuesday and noticed she "wasn't acting like herself."

Cassandra Norman was with Harris at the time.

"The father was calling us the whole time saying she was crying," Norman said. "We said, OK, we're going to meet you at Popeye's, we're going to pick her up. He says, well she stopped crying, she fell asleep. So we went on with what we did. We said we're going to meet you at the house. This all happened with about, I'd say about an hour, we weren't gone but an hour, if it was that long."

The Orleans Parish Coroner classified the death as a homicide resulting from a laceration to the liver consistent with being kicked or beaten.

Family friend Vanessa Scott said those who know Harris are struggling to figure out how this could have happened. She said Harris recently moved to the city from Atlanta to care for a sick relative.

"She's a very good mom," Scott said. "I don't know what happened, what went wrong. She's a good mother. I don't know if she spanked her too hard. She came down here to help her grandmother, yeah she did, she came down here to help her grandmother, doing everything for her grandmother and her mom, so I don't know. We don't know."

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