Durham County

Durham mother beat 4-year-old to death, warrant says

Four-year-old Armani Hodges was beaten to death by her mother, Jessica Warren, according to a search warrant released Thursday.

Warren, 27, told detectives that she beat Armani “with a leather belt and possibly her fists” but said she did not intend to kill the child, the warrant stated.

Armani was pronounced dead at the scene when medics and first responders arrived at Warren’s apartment about 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 25.

The state medical examiner reported that Armani died of “severe trauma to the abdominal area” leading to a lacerated liver, among other injuries.

Warren was arrested the following day and charged with first-degree murder. She remains in the Durham County jail without the option of posting bail.

Police had gone to 700 Falls Point Drive, Apartment 301, in response to a “respiratory arrest” call, according to the warrant. They found Armani lying on a bed, unconscious and not breathing.

Warren at first told detectives that Armani had been playing on a bed earlier and fell, hitting her head. Later, she said, the child became ill and was sent to bed, the warrant states.

Detectives questioned Warren again after receiving the examiner’s report, and Warren admitted beating the child.

During that interview, the warrant states, Warren was seen and heard using a cellphone in a recorded room. Talking with “unknown persons,” she said that “she was confident she was not going to jail.”

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