SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (AP) – A Louisiana coroner’s office has released the name of a baby found dead in a lake after his mother allegedly threw him and his older brother into the water.
The child has been identified as Joshua Black, 10 months old, the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office said in a press release Wednesday evening. The police had previously given her age at 8 months.
An official cause of death was pending based on the autopsy results, coroner’s office spokesman John Andrew Prime said in an email.
The baby’s mother, Ureka Black, is accused of throwing Joshua and his 5-year-old brother into Cross Lake in Shreveport last Friday.
Her sisters, Felicia and Pycolyia Black, told KSLA-TV that they have long been concerned about Black’s mental health, but she rejected any suggestions for treatment.
“Whenever we tried to get her help she refused,” said Felicia Black. “She just felt like everything was fine with her.”
Ureka Black was arrested for second degree murder, carrying a mandatory life sentence, and attempted second degree murder, punishable by at least 10 years and up to 50 years.
She is represented by the Office of Public Defenders of the Parish of Caddo. His lawyer was in court when the Associated Press asked for comment Thursday.
A construction crew working near a bridge alerted authorities to the baby’s body, and the Cross Lake Marine Patrol found the older child floating on his back, KTBS-TV reported. Rescuers initially thought he was dead, but patted him and he opened his eyes, the station reported.
Black’s sisters told KSLA the family had tried weeks earlier to get custody of Black’s children.
“We just knew something was wrong with her, but I didn’t want to hurt her in this way of taking her children. We feel guilty that we had to, ”said Felicia Black.
Calls to child protection services were unsuccessful because Ureka Black acted normally, they said. The sisters said they didn’t know she was having a baby.
“For my mother, the first time she will see this grandchild is in a coffin,” said Felicia Black.