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Arrest: Couple taken in by police after beating death of 2-year-old foster child

Los Angeles police have arrested a foster mother and her boyfriend for the second time in connection with the March death of a toddler who was in their care.

Kiana Barker, a 30-year-old black woman, was arrested by police Thursday, July 15. According to the felony complaint provided by the district attorney's office, she has been charged with one count of murder, one count of assault on a child causing death, one count of child abuse and one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.

Barker's boyfriend, James Julian, a 38-year-old black man, surrendered to police Saturday, July 17. He has been charged with one count of accessory after the fact and one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.

According to the coroner's report, Barker told authorities that on March 4 her foster daughter, Viola Vanclief, a 2-year-old black girl, got trapped in a bed frame. In an attempt to free her, Barker said she accidentally struck the toddler with a hammer, yet no medical attention was immediately sought, according to coroner's records.

Viola was later taken to California Hospital Medical Center in downtown, where she was pronounced dead at 4:26 p.m. The child had several large bruised areas on her body.

Barker and Julian initially were arrested March 9 in connection with Viola's death; however they were released two days later, with no charges filed.

Reporter Garrett Therolf has more in LA Now: Foster mother, boyfriend arrested in connection with hammer-beating death of 2-year-old-girl

-- Sarah Ardalani

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