A woman who locked her 5-year-old daughter up in a room with a loaded gun has been charged with second-degree murder in the child's death, police in New Orleans say. Initial investigations show that the girl found a loaded .38-caliber revolver in the bedroom and accidentally shot herself in the head, a police spokesman tells the Times-Picayune.
Laderika Smith, 28, who admitted that she left the child locked alone in a room while she went to the store, was initially charged with child cruelty but the charge was upgraded to murder after her daughter was taken off life support yesterday afternoon. The Advocate spoke with a relative who lives in the home and claimed possession of the gun—but said he was keeping it for someone else, and, by raising his arm, suggested to the Advocate reporter that he kept the gun high up in the room. He didn't give any more specifics about its location.