Five-Year-Old Dies, Father and Step-Mother Arrested - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Five-Year-Old Dies, Father and Step-Mother Arrested

June 6, 2008

Reported By: Natalie Grise

Neighbors who knew Savannah Vincent, a kindergartener at EK Key Elementary School, say they were shocked to find out what happened to the little girl they described as an absolute angel. This was the last thing they said they expected to hear about the couple they knew, or at least thought they knew, living down the street.

There's still plenty of signs that a young child lived in this Sulphur home, but five-year-old Savannah Vincent left here for the final time on Sunday, when she was taken to a medical facility with severe head injuries, and then transported to Lafayette.

"It wasn't until Tuesday when we were notified by Lafayette General that she was in danger of dying and suffered from blunt force trauma," says Criminal Investigation Commander Mike Byrne, with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office.

The ensuing investigation lead the Sheriff's Office straight to Savannah's father, William Stewart Vincent, and her step-mother, Barbara Virginia Vincent.

"Through our investigation, we learned the child was with the two, and because of the nature of the injuries, because she was in their custody and what we learned from the interviews, we made the decision to arrest them," Byrne said.

Seven News spoke to neighbors of the Vincents, all of which declined to go on camera, but they told us the couple had lived in a home on Lock Street for about a year. During that time, they said they had never seen either one even raise their voice to any of the children living with them.

That, according to Sheriff's Office investigators, is a different story than the family's history with law enforcement.

"Evidently, child protective services had to get involved because there needed to be some sort of intervention, typically that's when they step in," Byrne said.

The Vincents are charged with Second Degree Cruelty to a Juvenile, but those charges could be upgraded once an autopsy is complete and the official cause of death confirmed. Their bond is currently set at $40,000 each. That too is subject to being raised as the investigation continues.

Savannah Vincent's body is still in Lafayette, her organs will be donated before her body is brought back to Lake Charles for that autopsy.

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