Coroner’s report shows toddler died from injuries
A coroner’s report in the January death of a 2-year-old girl is at odds with statements made by attorneys prosecuting the child’s parents for first- degree murder.
The parents of Gabriella Lamorie have awaited an official ruling on the death of their daughter — whether physical abuse allegedly inflicted by the child’s father, or the severe malnutrition she allegedly suffered prior to her death. The answer would determine which, if not both defendants, could face a lifetime in prison. Now that question has been answered, and the attorneys of 25-year-old Brittany Rodriguez have declined a plea agreement offered by prosecutors.
While severe malnutrition was ruled as a significant condition in Gabriella Lamorie’s posthumous medical examination, the Clark County Coroner’s Office has ruled this month that the primary cause of her death was blunt-force head and neck trauma.
The ruling conflicts with prior statements by Mohave County Deputy Attorney Megan McCoy, who initially asserted the cause of death was starvation.
Police and paramedics were called Jan. 11 to the home of Rodriquez and the victim’s father, 22-year-old Andrew Lamorie, after receiving a report that the child was found motionless on the floor. Gabriella Lamorie was flown to Las Vegas for emergency medical treatment, where physicians later learned she sustained multiple brain contusions, bruises on her face and head, signs of intestinal trauma and bleeding in her brain. Severe malnutrition caused Gabriella Lamorie to be about half the size of an average 2-year-old child, the police report said, and medical staff allegedly told Lake Havasu City Police detectives that even if she survived, she would never lead a normal life.
Andrew Lamorie was arrested that evening on felony charges of child abuse, child neglect, aggravated assault against a minor and possession of marijuana. He was later cited on charges of animal cruelty in reference to an injured dog allegedly located in his home.
Rodriquez informed detectives when questioned that there was physical abuse in her home by Lamorie, against her daughter as well as herself. According to statements allegedly given to police, Rodriquez said Lamorie would often “punish” Gabriella by “spanking” her on her head with his open hand. She allegedly told detectives she should have done more to protect her daughter from Lamorie.
When the child was removed from life support three days later, Lamorie and Rodriquez were each charged with first-degree murder. Each defendant was offered a plea agreement by the Mohave County Attorney’s Office this year, under which they would each plead guilty to charges of second-degree murder and accept a 25-year sentence without the possibility of early release. Lamorie initially considered accepting the agreement, but ultimately declined.
As of Thursday evening, it was unknown whether McCoy would choose to amend the charge of murder against Rodriquez due to the Clark County Coroner’s report.
Rodriquez’s trial is scheduled to take place Nov. 5, 2019, with Mohave County Superior Court Judge Billy Sipe presiding. She remains in custody at Mohave County Jail on $250,000 bond.
Andrew Lamorie is expected to appear in Sipe’s courtroom Jan. 7 for a pre-trial conference. He remains in custody at Mohave County Jail on $1 million bond.