Man charged in murder of girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter at NOLA hotel

A coroner determined that Jo'nyri Hawkins died from blunt force trauma as a result of injuries sustained in a NOLA hotel.

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A mother will never be able to hold her baby again.

Anfernee Devante Steele, 21, is being charged with one count of second-degree murder and cruelty to a juvenile the police announced on Tuesday per NOLA.com.

Jo’nyri Hawkins was just 4-years-old when she took her last breath. The child’s mother left her in the car with Steele on the 500 block of Canal Street on Oct. 3 but when she returned, the child’s body was limp. Steele claimed the toddler fell but according to sources, that claim did not match the child’s “severe bodily injuries.”

Jo'Nyri Hawkins NOLA thegrio.com
Jo’Nyri Hawkins (Credit: Facebook)

The coroner determined that her death was from blunt force trauma and ruled her passing as a homicide.

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Steele was dating the child’s mother, Amari Charles. When Charles returned to the child at a Downtown New Orleans Hotel, she found her daughter unresponsive. She called 911 but by the time the first responders arrived, the little girl was found dead.

Anfernee Steele NOLA thegrio.com
Anfernee Steele (Credit: NOPD)

If convicted Steele could spend life behind bars.

A service was held for the child on Friday at the Jones Funeral Home of Houma.

“Jo’nyri Tammi-Denise Hawkins, 4, a native of Terrebonne Parish and a resident of Houma, LA, passed away at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 3, 2020. She is survived by her parents, Joseph Hawkins and Amari Charles; brother, Ar’myhi Hawkins; sister, A’najia Steele,” the little girl’s obituary read.

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