NEW DETAILS: Family of woman accused of murder speaks out

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - We now know her name: 6-month-old Carissa Lewis is the baby who died after being left in a vehicle for several hours.

“It was just like heart ripping, like how do you explain this to her sister, how do you comfort family,” Ashley Lee said. “Then on top of that with it being my sister, it’s been a lot.”

The mother, 22-year-old Ivy Lee is charged with second-degree murder. Investigators said Lee told two different stories, first claiming the child was not in her care.

Authorities said Lee said she went to work at about 10:30 a.m. She left the vehicle on until a coworker mentioned it. She told authorities she thought the baby was sleeping.

Authorities said Lee drove for approximately five minutes before flagging down a sheriff’s office deputy near Enterprise and Broad Street claiming her baby wasn’t breathing.

“Ultimately she stated that she left the child in her car while she went to work from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” chief deputy Stitch Guillory said.

This wasn’t Lee’s first incident like this. She actually had a close call in 2019 after leaving her other child, then 2-months-old, unattended in a vehicle.

“An officer had passed at the time and seen she was in the car and that my sister was smoking in the park,” Ashley Lee said.

She pleaded down to a charge of criminal mischief in that case. It was Lee’s second child who died Sunday. The preliminary cause of death is heat related.

Her sister, Ashley Lee has custody of her first child, Avereigh.

Ashley said her sister’s relationship with the family and her children was strained. Ashley said they attempted to help Ivy with Carissa, and encouraged Ivy to finish her classes with DCFS.

“Ivy started immediately screaming, cussing, calling us this that and everything,” Lee said. “Saying ‘oh I just want my baby, I just want my baby, I’m a changed person, I’m a changed person’.”

CPSO confirmed the Department of Children and Family Services previously had contact with Lee after the first incident.

Lee’s sister said DCFS attempted home visits and tried to get in contact with Ivy, but to no avail.

“They said they were going to get in contact with me, they would let me know something,” Lee said. “This all just happened so quick, that before they could even call me and let me know anything about Avery, what’s going on with Avery, this happens with a new baby.”

Lee’s bond is set at $1,200,000.

We did speak to Carissa’s father who shared pictures and videos of his daughter with KPLC. He says he shared custody of Carissa with her mother and called the infant his “mini-me.” He says he had no idea about Lee’s previous criminal charge concerning her other child.

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