The charges come a week after 6-month-old Levi Cole Ellerbe's death from severe burns


Authorities in Louisiana have arrested the mother of the 6-month-old boy who died last week after being set on fire, making her the second person charged in the infant’s killing.

Hannah Barker, 22, was charged Wednesday with principal to first-degree murder. Her arrest follows the arrest last weekend of Felicia Marie-Nicole Smith, 25, on first-degree murder charges.

Police allege Barker and Smith know each other — and the charge against Barker indicates it was her actions that directly ended the life of her baby, Levi Cole Ellerbe.

A statement from the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office indicates Barker, who lives in Natchitoches, remains in police custody without bail.

Levi died on July 18 after sustaining severe burns, according to a statement from the Natchitoches Police Department.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office statement indicates an additional criminal charge will be filed against Smith in the coming days.

After Smith’s arrest, police issued a statement saying Levi’s mother had claimed she’d been sprayed in the face with a chemical — possibly mace — by two men who knocked on her trailer door at around 9 p.m. on July 17.

The initial statement contended Barker claimed she’d fled the trailer to escape the men and when she returned a short time later, she discovered Levi was gone.

Credit: Hanna Barker/Facebook

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The baby boy was found a short while later with severe burns after he had been set on fire.

The statement on Burke’s arrest does not address her earlier claims concerning the two male suspects.

Hannah Barker
| Credit: Natchitoches Police Department

“I want to highlight the determination and dedication of the team of investigators from both agencies who have doggedly worked this case from the start,” the statement quotes State Fire Marshal Chief H. “Butch” Browning as saying. “Rest assured, that diligent work is not over yet.”

Barker has not appeared before a judge to enter a plea to the charge she faces.

It was unclear Thursday if she was represented by a lawyer who could comment on her behalf.