WESTWEGO, La. – Blood loss due to the attack by a rat or rats appears to be the cause of death of the three-month-old girl who died last week in a Westwego home, according to a statement by Jefferson Parish Forensic Pathologist Susan M. Garcia.
The official cause of death on the statement was "exsanguination due to destruction of soft tissue secondary to murine activity."
Authorities had been trying to determine whether bites occurred while the child was alive or dead.
Natalie Hill was found in her crib by her parents covered with rat bites Thursday morning in the 700 block of Central Avenue.
The parents of Natalie, Robby Hill and Casey Lane, found her in the her crib after they fed her last, according to Westwego Police Chief Dwayne Munch, adding that emergency calls were placed to authorities between 7 and 7:30 a.m.
When EMS and police arrived at the house, Munch said, they found Natalie, a large amount of blood and hundred’s bites on her body – including flesh being removed from her nose and the bottom of her leg. Bloody prints from the crib resembled a large rat.
Lane defended herself publically after the death of her daughter in a Times-Picayune video, saying, “It hurts, it feels like a piece of me is gone and it’ll never be back.”
“I just wish people would stop and realize that I’m a good parent. My husband is a good parent. I never meant to put my child in any kind of danger. If I had known it was that bad, I would have never even lived there.”
Munch said the home was cluttered, though not necessarily dirty, but he said the structure had several problems.
“Holes in the wall, holes in the floor,” he said. “It’s an older home. It’s not something you would want to be raising a family in.”