Girl, 4, Was Found Dead in Downtown New Orleans Hotel — and Mom's Boyfriend Is Charged with Murder

Authorities in New Orleans are looking for 21-year-old Anfernee Devante Steele, who is wanted in connection to the killing of his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter.

A statement from the New Orleans Police Department confirms an arrest warrant for murder was issued Tuesday for Steele, who, as of Friday, was still at large.

Investigators allege Steele beat little Jo'nyri Hawkins to death inside a Canal Street hotel room on Oct. 3.

The Times-Picayune, citing a source close to the investigation, reports that Hawkins' mother had left her in Steele's care at the hotel for a few hours.

When she returned, she found Jo'nyri unresponsive and limp. She called 911, but the girl was dead by the time first responders arrived.

Coroners determined the girl died from blunt force injuries, and her death was ruled a homicide.

Steele has been officially charged with second-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to juveniles.

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If convicted, he could be sentenced to life behind bars.

A funeral for Jo'nyri took place this morning.

Anyone with information on Steele's whereabouts is urged to call (504) 822-1111.

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