Parents of child who died in Choudrant fire arrested


Source: State Fire Marshal

LINCOLN PARISH- State Fire Marshal (SFM) deputies have arrested the mother and father of a child who died in an August house fire in Choudrant.

Jessica Lewis, 32, and Christopher Bell, 37, were each booked into the Lincoln Parish Jail this week on one count of Second Degree Cruelty to a Juvenile. They both face an additional charge by another agency in connection with an unrelated case.

On Aug. 31, a house fire occurred in the 700 block of Highway 821 in Choudrant. A 20-month-old boy died in the fire while his mother, Lewis, was severely burned and the father, Bell, escaped uninjured.

The cause of that fire remains undetermined with the inability to rule out a possible electrical malfunction.

During the child’s autopsy, evidence of abuse was uncovered. Following extensive investigative efforts into that evidence, warrants were obtained this week for Lewis and Bell and they were taken into custody in New Mexico.

“This case continues to be a sad situation, “ said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “But it’s an example of how the work of our deputies often times goes beyond the basic fire investigation. While it’s heartbreaking to learn this child was mistreated before his tragic death in this fire, I am glad that our deputies continued their work to find him justice.”