Bodies of 2 Young Md. Children Discovered in Aunt's Trunk After Cops Pull Over 'Suspicious' Vehicle

Nicole M. Johnson, 33, is facing multiple criminal charges, including first-degree child abuse that resulted in the death of a child under the age of 13

baltimore county police department
Photo: Baltimore County police department/Facebook

A Maryland woman has been arrested in connection to the deaths of her niece and nephew after the children's bodies were found in her car's trunk during a traffic stop.

On Wednesday, just after 11 p.m., Baltimore County officers conducted a routine traffic stop during which the bodies of two deceased children were discovered, according to a police news release.

The children's bodies were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner while the driver of the vehicle, 33-year-old Nicole M. Johnson, was taken into custody. Baltimore County detectives continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this incident.

The victims were identified as Johnson's niece and nephew, 7-year-old Joshlyn Johnson and 5-year-old Larry O'Neil. The children were siblings.

Johnson now faces multiple charges, including first-degree child abuse that resulted in the death of a child under the age of 13, PEOPLE confirms.

"Tonight, the entire Baltimore County Police Department grieves with the community over the unspeakable deaths of two innocent children," Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said in a statement. "The investigation into this atrocious crime will not stop until those responsible are brought to justice."

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Charging documents obtained by PEOPLE allege that Johnson told investigators she had been driving around with Joshlyn's body in her car for over a year. According to the report, Johnson admitted to putting Joshlyn's body in the trunk in May 2020 after repeatedly hitting her, causing the girl to fall and strike her head.

Johnson also allegedly told detectives that about two months ago, Larry fell asleep in the back of her car and never woke up, so she put his body in a tote and kept it beside his sister's, the report says.

The victims' mother, Dachelle Johnson, wrote online that she was in the process of getting her children back from her sister when she "just disappeared."

"It was supposed to just be a family helping family situation," Dachelle wrote on a since-deleted GoFundMe page. "I trusted her I was mentally broken from losing the woman that raised me...I'll never get to see my kids because a mistake I made in trusting my sister. I wish I could take it back but I can't."

"I still trusted her and didn't want to think the worst," she continued. "This is my blood sister she was my family. The mistake I made in trusting will always fall on me but I never could imagine this outcome I just needed a mental break I lost the woman that raised me I was tired and depressed and down I'm sorry."

It remains unclear whether the children's aunt has an attorney to comment on her behalf.

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