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Las Vegas woman arrested in toddler's death - News on Astini News

Posted: Aug. 25, 2011 | 6:42 p.m.
Updated: Aug. 26, 2011 | 7:57 a.m.

A 23-year-old Las Vegas woman was arrested late Wednesday night in California in connection with the slaying of a 14-month-old girl who died from "extensive injuries" in mid-August, Las Vegas police said Thursday.

Mariann Harris was taken into custody at a relative's home in Victorville, Calif. She is in the San Bernardino County jail and is expected to be extradited to Las Vegas on charges of first-degree murder, child abuse with a deadly weapon and one count of child abuse, Las Vegas police said.

Authorities allege Harris was the caretaker of Dyon Johnson, who died at University Medical Center on Aug. 13.

Johnson's relatives described Harris as the child's godmother.

Investigators said on Aug. 12, police responded to UMC at 11:52 p.m. while the toddler was still alive. Dyon died shortly after midnight.

The child was under the supervision of Harris at the time of her injuries, police said. The girl's mother and grandmother told the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this month that the toddler was supposed to spend the night at Harris' home, a residence at Playa Vista Apartment Homes, on East Bonanza Road near Pecos Road.

Dyon's mother, Jannett Simms, and Dyon's grandmother, Evelyn Simms, speculated that Dyon fell down concrete stairs. But police have rebuted that account.

Jannett Simms said earlier this month she was devastated by her child's death.

"God needed a pure soul for an emergency, and she's on a bigger task than me," she said.

She added that Harris was also taking care of her own three children the night Dyon was injured.

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@review or 702-383-4638.

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