A 28-year-old Bridgeton, N.J., mother was convicted of killing her 23-month-old son, then burning his dis.mem.bered body and burying his remains under a shed in her yard.
The trial of Nakira Griner, 28, lasted two weeks, and her sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 21, according to a statement from the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office. She will face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
On Feb. 8, 2019, Nakira Griner called police and reported that her son, Daniel Griner Jr., had been abducted while they were out walking to the store, the Bridgeton City Police Department and the Cumberland County Prosecutors Office said in a statement. She claimed a stranger had attacked her and kidnapped the boy, leaving his stroller behind.
Officers later found Daniel’s stroller a few blocks away, CBS News reports, and it held only a pair of small red sneakers.
Police bloodhounds started tracking the toddler’s scent while authorities, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, launched a search for the child.
The search ended the next morning around 3 a.m., when Daniel’s remains were found in the yard of his mother’s home, police said. He died of blunt force trauma, and an autopsy showed that he’d been beaten to death.
Nakira Griner was arrested shortly thereafter and charged with first-degree murder, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, second-degree desecration of human remains and fourth-degree tampering with evidence.
In opening remarks at her trial, the woman’s lawyer said she’d confessed to burning and dismembering Daniel’s body, but claimed the killing was unintentional, NJ101.5 and CBSNews report.
Griner first told police her son had accidentally fallen down the stairs, CBSNews reports.
A criminal complaint reviewed by CBS reportedly stated that he had extensive bruising to his face, and that Griner admitted to police that she’d hit him because he wouldn’t “eat nor listen to her.”
After the child’s 2019 death, neighbor Crystal Castillo told local NBC affiliate WCAU that she hadn’t seen the boy for more than a month before he disappeared, and said she was shocked at the then-allegations against Griner.
Griner declined a plea deal in October 2019. She intends to appeal the verdict, IsL source, CBS News reports.
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