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Arkansas 5-Year-Old Found Buried Beneath Home Was Allegedly Drowned in Toilet by Mother’s Boyfriend as ‘Punishment’ for Biting Man’s Finger

Ashley Rolland and Blu Rolland (St. Francis County Sheriff's Office:GoFundMe)

Ashley Rolland and Blu Rolland (St. Francis County Sheriff’s Office:GoFundMe)

Grisly new details have emerged in the case of a 5-year-old boy in Arkansas whose body was discovered decomposing beneath the hallway floorboards of his mother’s home for nearly three months. The child’s mother, Ashley Rolland, 28, allegedly told police that her live-in boyfriend, Nathan Bridges, 33, drowned her son, Blu Rolland, in the toilet bowl, before cutting a hole in the floor and burying his remains, court documents show.

Rolland and Bridges were both arrested and charged with one count each of capital murder, abuse of a corpse, tampering with physical evidence, first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, and first-degree battery. Rolland was also charged with two counts of permitting child abuse, the second charge in connection to her 6-year-old daughter who was hospitalized with “severe burns” to the top of her head.

According to a probable cause affidavit released this week and obtained by Law&Crime, Rolland’s mother requested the assistance of deputies with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 16 in picking up her two grandchildren from Rolland’s house located in the 200 block of Front Street. Rolland allegedly brought out her daughter, claiming her burned head was “an allergic reaction,” and said that Blu was not at the residence.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders made contact with Rolland’s father, who reported that his daughter told him Blu was “dead inside the home and described where he was located.”

“Deputies located where Blu was reported to be and found newly nailed-down boards,” the affidavit states. “Deputies removed the boards and found disturbed earth underneath. Deputies removed the top layer of the earth and found a child’s flip-flop shoes and a red and blue blanket. Removing the top layer of the earth released the pungent odor of decay.”

Deputies then called in the Arkansas State Police to take over the investigation, and a search warrant was executed on the home. The floorboards were torn off, and investigators found a small human body wrapped in multiple layers of plastic bags and a blanket. The remains were transferred to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.

In an interview with investigators, Rolland allegedly stated that Blu died on Sept. 9, 2022. Detectives provided a summary of her testimony in the affidavit.

“[Blu] had angered her boyfriend, Nathan Bridges[,] by biting his finger when Bridges stuck it in [Blu’s] mouth. Bridges took [Blu] to the bathroom and as punishment repeatedly placed [Blu’s] head in the water filled toilet until he drowned him. Nathan cut a hole in their wooden floor, dug a hole in the ground, and buried [Blu] under the house. Rolland stated that she was in the living room while [Blu] was in the bathroom with Bridges. When Bridges exited the bathroom, Rolland entered the bathroom and saw [Blu] struggling to breath, and his body was limp.”

Rolland also allegedly told investigators that Bridges was responsible for her daughter’s injuries. She claimed that he “held [the girl’s] head and upper torso under hot water in the bathtub” as “punishment for her behavior issues.”

Rolland and Bridges on Monday appeared in Lee County Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing, court records show. They are being held without bond and are currently scheduled to make another court appearance on Jan. 17.

A friend of Rolland’s mother created a GoFundMe page to help pay for Blu’s memorial.

[images via St. Francis County Sheriff’s Office/GoFundMe]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.