N.J. Mom Who Reported Toddler Abducted Is Now Accused of Killing Him, Burying Body in Yard
Nakira Griner faces first-degree murder and other charges for allegedly killing her 23-month-old son, Daniel Griner Jr., and burying his body in their yard
A New Jersey mother who called police Friday night to report that her 23-month-old son had been abducted is now accused of killing him and burying him in the yard of the home where they lived, PEOPLE confirms.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nakira Griner, 24, of Bridgeton, called police saying her son had been kidnapped, the Bridgeton City Police Department and the Cumberland County Prosecutors Office say in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
As bloodhounds began tracking the child’s scent in the area, authorities launched a massive search for the boy.
The search ended at about 3 a.m., when the child’s remains were found in the yard of his home, say police in the statement.
Nakira Griner was arrested 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.
Griner remains held in the Cumberland County Jail pending a detention hearing on Monday. It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney who can speak on her behalf.
She has not yet entered a plea.
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Neighbor Crystal Castillo told local NBC affiliate WCAU that she hadn’t seen the boy for more than a month and is shocked at the allegations.
“[Griner] is, like, the most genuine person in the whole world,” Castillo told WCAU. “My kids were close with her and her kids were close with me. I just don’t know what to do.”
Neighbor Shanice Wilson told local CBS affiliate KYW-TV, “It’s sad. I have two boys of my own. I can’t imagine any mother doing that to her children, it’s very sad and disturbing at the same time.”
Daniel Griner Jr. is survived by a younger brother and his father, Daniel Griner Sr., according to a Gofundme set up for his father.
“The father of this little boy is a hard working two job holding RN,” the Gofundme says. “He had two baby boys.”
The page adds the dad is “going to struggle with paying for things from here on out. Every little penny counts. Reach deep into your pockets and if you can’t donate please send a pray[er] for this man. I used to work with him and he nor his son deserved this. #justicefordanieljr”
No further information will be released at this time because the case is still under investigation, police say in the statement.
No additional arrests are expected.
“It’s a tragic situation,” Bridgeton Mayor Albert B. Kelly told NJ Advance Media Sunday. “Everyone is shaking their head at it. These are the type of things you read about in other cities, but you always think it won’t happen in your city.”