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Coroner awaits cause of girl's death; stepmother denied bond

A day after they charged the child's stepmother with homicide by child abuse, county authorities await autopsy results to determine exactly what killed 4-year-old Giselle Laurent of Beaufort last week.

Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said he expects preliminary findings today of an autopsy performed Monday at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Giselle was pronounced dead Sunday at MUSC from injuries investigators say she sustained Thursday morning at the hands of her stepmother, Naticia Laurent, 24.

"The child had apparently done something that made (Laurent) angry, and the child was being disciplined," said Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy. Clancy declined to give further details.

Attempts to reach the girl's family Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Laurent was arrested Thursday and charged with child abuse and neglect, but the charge was elevated to homicide by child abuse Sunday after the little girl's death. Laurent was being held without bond at the Beaufort Detention Center, according to the county's jail log. She faces 20 years to life in prison, if convicted.

Paramedics arrived at Laurent's home on Stone Martin Drive at about 11:50 a.m. to find the girl on the bathroom floor unconscious and not breathing, according to a police report. The report did not indicate who called paramedics to the home.

Giselle was rushed to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where a nurse contacted Beaufort police to report the incident.

The officer reported seeing "numerous fresh bruises to the child's stomach, chest and leg areas," according to the report. Doctors also performed a CAT scan on the child before transporting her to MUSC.

Laurent's statement to paramedics and officers at the hospital was redacted from the incident report released Tuesday because the woman had not been read her Miranda rights before talking to authorities, Clancy said.

Laurent had no prior arrests in South Carolina, according to a S.C. Law Enforcement Division background check.

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