The battle is almost over for a West Monroe mother who has been fighting to bring the remains of her little girl home to be buried in West Monroe where she lived for most of her 5 years.
Jamie Mercer, the biological mother of Anna Celeste Lowe, and Wesley Dewayne Lowe, Anna’s biological father who is in jail charged with negligent homicide in the death of their daughter, had joint custody of the child, with Ms. Mercer being the domiciliary parent.
However, on Sept. 29, after picking up the child for a visit, Mr. Lowe took the child back to Bossier Parish and filed a temporary restraining order in the name of the child. That TRO was granted by a Bossier judge, and a court date set in which Ms. Mercer was slated to come and defend the charges.
The hearing was postponed several times, but in October a judge did allow Ms. Mercer supervised visitation on alternate Saturday afternoons at the Louisiana Boardwalk, and a weekly telephone call at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Last Wednesday’s telephone call between Ms. Mercer and her daughter was the last time they would ever speak. Between that call and 9:30 the next morning, Anna sustained fatal injuries and bleeding into the body cavity, according to Dr. John Chandler, Bossier Parish coroner.
Mr. Lowe, and his wife, Catherine Lowe brought the child to Willis Knighton Pierremont hospital’s emergency room at 9:30 Thursday morning, where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Medical personnel that attended the child said rigor mortis had begun to set in, and she died at least two hours before the couple brought her to the ER.
The step-mother also is in Bossier Parish jail charged with negligent homicide in connection with Anna’s death. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lowe were arrested early Friday morning and remain incarcerated.
Also on Friday, Louisiana District Judge Ford Stinson Jr. signed an order dissolving the Sept. 29 TRO, which re-established the original joint custody agreement.
Now, either one or two steps remain before Ms. Mercer is able to bring her baby home for burial – either Mr. Lowe can sign a document from his jail cell that allows the Bossier Parish coroner to release Anna’s remains to her mother; or Ms. Mercer will have to have a court order signed by a District Judge.
Dr. Chandler said Monday afternoon that he feels confident the child’s body will be released to her mother Tuesday.