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Houma woman arrested in death of a child



June 5, 2024



Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Tim Soignet announced the arrest of a Houma woman in connection with an ongoing death investigation, that occurred at a home in the 100 block of St. Louis Street.  Meghan Ashleigh Cortez, 30, of Houma, was arrested on charges of Negligent Homicide stemming from the investigation.


On February 5, 2024, the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division were called to a home in the 100 block of St. Louis Street, after reports surfaced of an unresponsive infant within the home, shortly before 2:30 am.  When Deputies arrived, they discovered the body of a six-week-old child who was unresponsive, and Deputies immediately began administering CPR to the infant.  A short time later, the Bayou Cane Fire/Medical personnel arrived on scene and began life saving measures on the child, who was transported to a nearby hospital.


Authorities contacted a female at the home, who was identified as Meghan Ashleigh Cortez, and determined to be the mother of the child.  Deputies were able to confirm that Cortez, the victim, an additional small child, and a family member were in the home at the time of the incident.  Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office Detectives were immediately called to the scene to assume control of the investigation.  Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Detectives processed the home in connection with the investigation.


During the preliminary investigation at the home, Cortez confirmed information that she and her two children were asleep in the bed, when she awoke and discovered the infant lying unresponsive next to her.  Cortez stated that she immediately called for assistance and began CPR efforts on her child, until help arrived.  Through further processing of the scene, CSI personnel located evidence of illegal narcotic paraphernalia in multiple locations within the home.  Detectives were able to confirm that Cortez is a Heroin user, who admitted to using the drug in the late afternoon hours prior to the incident.  


A short time later, Detectives responded to the nearby hospital and learned that the infant was deceased.  The child’s body was transported to the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office, who completed a full autopsy in connection with the investigation.  Terrebonne Detectives learned that the child suffered from no obvious signs of physical trauma, and a routine toxicology screen was conducted in connection with the autopsy.


In April of 2024, Detectives of the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office learned that a determination was reached by the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office, who classified the infant’s cause of death as homicide by Fentanyl overdose. 

Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office Detectives continued the investigation into the infant’s death, and attribute the death to Cortez having close contact with the infant directly after using and handling the Heroin narcotic.  The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office worked very closely with the Terrebonne Parish District Attorney’s Office throughout the duration of the case, and a decision was reached to obtain an arrest warrant for Meghan Ashleigh Cortez for her involvement in the investigation.


Detectives later located and arrested Cortez at her home on June 3, 2024, for charges of Negligent Homicide, per arrest warrant.  Cortez was transported to the Terrebonne Parish Criminal Justice Complex, where she remains jailed on a $500,000 bond by local judges.


Sheriff Tim Soignet would like to express his deepest sympathies for the tragic loss of this young victim, and asks for patience and privacy for the family and loved ones of the child.  Sheriff Soignet would also like to commend the efforts of the Patrol and Detective Divisions for their tireless work and dedication to this unfortunate investigation.  Sheriff Soignet said, “My heart goes out to the family and loved ones of this young victim, as well as our staff who were responsible for the investigation of this tragic event.  Cases involving child victims are truly difficult to endure, and this case is certainly no different.  There was a tremendous amount of investigative work that went into this case, which has led to this necessary outcome.”









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