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2nd woman charged in Indiana toddler's death

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 3:56 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- An Indiana woman who told police she held the legs of a 2-year-old Fort Wayne boy while his mother forced him to drink a concoction of olive oil and vinegar because they thought it would exorcise demons from him has been charged in his death.

Natasha Hawkins, 31,of Fort Wayne is charged with aiding in battery causing death, neglect of a dependent causing death, assisting a criminal and four counts of battery in Jezaih King's death. She did not enter a plea when she appeared before Magistrate Robert Schmoll on Wednesday. She does not yet have an attorney.

Jezaih's mother, 31-year-old Latisha Lawson, was charged with murder on Feb. 11. She previously had been charged with battery causing death, neglect of a dependent causing death, neglect of a dependent causing injury, neglect of a dependent and battery.

Police say they interviewed Hawkins on Jan. 26 and she said she and Lawson had performed an "exorcist" on Jezaih in November 2009 because they thought he was possessed. According to the probable cause affidavit, Hawkins told Lawson that to get rid of demons "you should drink olive oil."

Hawkins said Lawson decided to add the vinegar. Hawkins said they also made Lawson's daughter and her three children also drink the concoction. All the children began to vomit. She said they all saw Jeziah stop breathing.

Police say Lawson kept Jeziah's body in a plastic tote for more than a year until she was arrested on Dec. 21, 2010.

Lawson was being held Wednesday at the Allen County Jail on $70,000 bond. Her next court appearance is April 6.

The Journal Gazette reports that Lawson's court-appointed attorney has filed paperwork indicating she intends to use an insanity defense. She is scheduled to go on trial May 24.

© 2011 The Associated Press