Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced the murder indictment against LaTonya Austin (DOB 5/15/1978) for the death of her 2-year-old granddaughter, Zaila Lee. Austin is now charged with one count of Aggravated Murder (SF), two counts of Murder (SF), two counts of Felonious Assault (F2), one count of Tampering with Evidence (F3), and one count Gross Abuse of a Corpse (F5). If convicted on all charges, Austin faces life in prison.
Austin was previously indicted for Gross Abuse of a Corpse (F5) and Tampering with Evidence (F3) after the child’s body was located in a cooler on Austin’s property.
The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office ruled Zaila’s death a homicide as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head. Additionally, Zaila suffered postmortem injuries, including a deep laceration near her hip and a broken right arm.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters commented, “It is impossible to comprehend the depravity of an individual able to, not only strike a 2 year old so hard to cause her death, but to then attempt to conceal that crime by stuffing the child’s lifeless body into a cooler. As a father and a grandfather, I am sick.
I am saying a prayer for this victim’s siblings, and the members of the Cincinnati Police Department who had to process and investigate this horrible scene.”