9News Investigators: Investigators say 1-year-old died from electrocution

9News Investigators: Investigators say 1-year-old died from electrocution
Kristiana Tillman (Source: Family)
Kristiana Tillman (Source: Family)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Shawanda Lee said she did not sleep all night after investigators said her daughter, Kristiana Tillman, died from electrocution.

"She's always there in my arms. She doesn't leave me so without her, she's just not there so I can get no rest whatsoever," said Lee.

Lee's 1-year-old died at the D'Iberville Townhomes on Chad St. in Addis on Monday.

Lee told 9News she was inside the home at the time because she had just gotten off work, but that someone was outside watching her daughter. Police Chief Ricky Anderson added a 15-yr-old was watching the child, which he said is legal.

When a 9News crew went to the scene Monday night, we found the air conditioning unit closest to the girl's townhome with no cover over live wires.

West Baton Rouge Coroner's Chief Investigator Yancy Guehin said an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, but he believes the air conditioner killed her.

"It was right next to an air conditioning unit. There was condensation that had leaked off the pipes. There was exposed electrical wires. I remember the nurse telling me there was a small burn on the baby's finger. The baby was bare-footed. Everything is consistent with the baby being electrocuted from the air conditioning unit," said Guehin.

Since Monday night, a sheet of metal was put in place to cover the wires.

"I saw two guys in a little gray truck come and cover up the air conditioner this morning," said Ashley Lee, who lives at the D'Iberville Townhomes. "I was just hoping they cover the rest that's uncovered too."

Lee, who has lived at the complex for nearly a year, said the unit that did not have a cover has been like that for almost a year.

Lee: "It's been uncovered for a while."
Kiran: "So it's not something that was just left uncovered yesterday?"
Lee: "No."

While 9News was at the townhomes, we found a man working on a different AC unit. He appeared to be tightening a cover and electrical box.

Kiran: "Can we ask what you're doing sir?"
Worker: "No ma'am, no comment."
Kiran: "Are you working on this air conditioning unit?"
Worker: "I'm just contracting."
Kiran: "Did you put any covers on any air conditioning units here?"
Worker: "No ma'am, no ma'am."
Kiran: "What were you just doing?"
Worker: "I was just doing what I was told to be doing."
Kiran: "What is that? Can you tell us what you were doing?"

He went inside the leasing office. At the same time, a woman went into her car and refused to roll her window down to talk to us. She left the property and came back a few minutes later. Tenants told the 9News Investigators she is the property landlord.

"I'm sorry. I have no comment at this time," said the woman.

Latter and Blum owns the property and issued a statement:

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident and we are ensuring that measures are in place to protect the continued and future safety and well-being of all residents. Latter and Blum Property Management was made aware of the occurrence Monday evening and immediately took steps to stop all electricity flowing to and from the AC unit in question. We are investigating all possibilities as to why the wires were exposed on the unit. Latter and Blum is aggressively pursuing the discovery of this information. We will be comparing all findings with our maintenance records, which state that the AC unit was intact on Friday. We'll continue to work closely with law enforcement officials and are committed to preventing any similar occurrences in the future."

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