US

Police: Mom Killed Toddler Because He Wouldn’t Eat, Listen

By The Associated Press

BRIDGETON, N.J.—A criminal complaint says a New Jersey woman accused of killing her toddler son told police she struck the boy because he wouldn’t “eat nor listen to her.”

Nakira Griner is charged with murder and other counts in the death of 23-month-old Daniel Griner Jr.

Cumberland County prosecutors have said the Bridgeton woman initially reported that her son had been abducted Friday night. A child abduction response team began a search aided by city and state police, prosecutors, and bloodhounds from New Jersey State Park Police.

The child’s remains were found around 3 a.m. Saturday in the yard of Griner’s home.

Griner is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a detention hearing. It wasn’t known Monday if she has retained an attorney.

Griner told police responding to the abduction report that a stranger had attacked her while she was walking with her toddler in a stroller and her infant son strapped to her chest, according to the complaint. She said her assailant kicked her and she fell to the ground as the attacker continued to kick her in the head and right side.

A complaint filed by Detective Veronica Cappoli said, “She stated she felt someone kick her; she fell to the ground and was repeatedly kicked on her right side and head. Nakira said when she looked up the stroller with [Daniel] was missing. Nakira was not able to provide any descriptions of the accused or her route she ran after the attack,” the Daily Journal reported.

Before the child’s remains were found, police said Griner’s story had changed.

“She then said that she left [her son], who was still alive, by himself on Devonshire Place because she wanted someone to find him and help him because no one would believe her,” Cappoli stated.

Also, she added, her son “liked going with strangers and she did not remember if she heard him screaming during the attack,” NJ.com reported.

Her alleged attacker also did not take a $5,000 ring she had been wearing, she told police.

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Griner is in the county jail. Her bond has not yet been set.

In her final Facebook post before she was arrested, Griner spoke about loving her husband. “In love with him that’s why we have two beautiful children,” she wrote.

Child Abuse

According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (pdf), approximately 3.5 million children nationwide in 2016 were the subjects of at least one maltreatment reports to authorities.

“Child abuse is one of the nation’s most serious concerns,” the authors of the report wrote in the introduction.

About 17 percent of those reports were substantiated; the department said that there were an estimated 676,000 victims of child abuse and neglect, or 9.1 victims per 1,000 children.

Children in their first year of life had the highest rate of victimization at 24.8 per 1,000 children of the same age in the national population.

About three-quarters of the cases were neglect while about 18 percent were physical abuse. Some children suffered from multiple forms of maltreatment.

Of the perpetrators of the abuse, more than four-fifths were between the ages of 18 and 44 and more than half were women.

The Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.