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Report released in Garner toddler's death

Posted January 26, 2009

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— Wake County Child Protective Services had heard from two individuals concerned about the welfare of a 19-month-old Garner boy found dead in his home in mid-November.

Social workers concluded, however, that neither report included information about child abuse or neglect that would give them grounds to intervene, according to a statement the agency released Monday.

Sherita Nicole McNeil, 23, of 1852 Spring Drive, Garner, was charged Thursday afternoon with first-degree murder and concealing the death of a person in the death of DeVarion Montrell Gross.

Garner police went to McNeil's home on Nov. 14 after DeVarion's grandmother reported finding his body inside a trash bag in an upstairs-bedroom closet. It had been drenched with bleach in an effort to conceal the smell, police said.

Investigators have said that they believe the boy had been dead since early October, when he was last seen alive.

According to Warren Ludwig, child welfare administrator for Wake County, social workers received reports from two sources on Nov. 3 about DeVarion's well-being. They had had no prior contacts concerning him or his mother.

The first source reported suspecting that McNeil might have been lying about DeVarion's whereabouts. Authorities referred that person to police and suggested the individual seek legal advice.

The second person was worried that the boy might have been harmed or given to somebody and alleged that McNeil never wanted the child and was having financial difficulties, Ludwig said.

Both sources told Child Protective Services that prior to DeVarion's birth, McNeil had arranged for a friend to raise him, but reclaimed him when he was 8 months old.

"The information provided by the second person was screened by an intake social worker and supervisor, according to the structured intake policy used to determine if CPS has legal jurisdiction to conduct an assessment," Ludwig said.

Those people decided it did not, he added, but Child Protective Services sent a letter detailing the information to the Garner Police Department for review.

According to a time line that police released Friday, police tried contacting McNeil four times after that and had a Nov. 13 appointment with her. McNeil, however, missed the meeting.

The state medical examiner is still working to determine a cause of death, but preliminary findings indicate DeVarion suffered multiple injuries in the months preceding his death, Garner Police Chief Tom Moss said.

Although police did not give a motive for the crime, search warrants suggest they suspected McNeil might have wanted to get rid of her son.

Investigators searching the home uncovered letters from DeVarion's father, Eric Chambers, expressing concern over McNeil getting rid of their son, according to a Dec. 3 search warrant.

Chambers, who was in the Wake County jail at the time on habitual-felon charges, has been cooperative with police, investigators said, and they do not believe he had any involvement in his son's death.

11 Comments

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  • Dr. Dataclerk Jan 27, 2009

    There are consequences to murdering. She should get life in prison without parole.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jan 27, 2009

    Why didn't she just give him up for adoption instead of killing that poor baby?

    Because this is what happens when "baby have baby." But her parents knew her life style and should have step in. I don't understand "family" today. Many don't won't to be bothered. Now this issues of how they lost their love one will always be with them. Continue to pray for the mother and family, also social services.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jan 27, 2009

    social service is worthless. The only thing they can do is write reports. They are as bad as the probation office. the family is no better. They should have been looking for the murderer too but, nobody did anything and now it is too late. This child is dead because no one took further actions.
    kbo0801

    You said a lot in your comment which was really truth. The child is gone because anyone involved in his life did seem to care until the very end and by then it was too late. If she did not want the child for whatever her reasons, she should never had the child in her care. Social Services really needs to tighten up. A report is something written on paper. But when a child's life is at stake or being abuse, what is wrong temporarily removing the child from the home until the problem is solved. At least the child would have been safe and lived. Now they will carry this burden for the rest of their life.

  • Fuquay Resident Jan 26, 2009

    So kbo0801, if I get mad at you, all I have to do is call social services and get a friend to call and they will take your kid(s) away. Is that the way you think it should work? Do you know how many calls social services get per day that are just that, people using social services to get back at somebody else. You've got fathers calling about mothers, mothers calling about fathers, boyfriends calling about girlfriends, girlfriends calling about boyfriends, all because they don't want to share custody. We've got a couple of parents who call every Monday morning after their kids return from the other parents house for weekend visitation and they inspect the child from head to toe and call us if they even find a mosquito bite.

  • kbo0801 Jan 26, 2009

    She needs to go to trial. If you are able to keep one child why not the other? And social service is worthless. The only thing they can do is write reports. They are as bad as the probation office. If two people reported the safety of this child, he should have been taken away immediately and if the police was supposed to talk to her then they should have put a missing person report out because of the child and the family is no better. They should have been looking for the murderer too but, nobody did anything and now it is too late. This child is dead because no one took further actions.

  • 4unot2no Jan 26, 2009

    Why didn't she just give him up for adoption instead of killing that poor baby? She should have left him with the people she gave him to in the first place!

  • kimisufu Jan 26, 2009

    I can't even begin to comprehend this monstrous behavior. That poor baby.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Jan 26, 2009

    I dont think she should be found mentally unstable and should stand trial. If you have the audacity to cover up something like this, you were in your right mind.

  • wife-of-a-concrete-man Jan 26, 2009

    WRAL, please revise the 1st paragraph in this story, so that it makes some sense!

    this is a shame indeed. no excuses for this woman (I won't refer to her as a mother, she's definitely not that)... poor little guy- prayers for the family.

  • MamaDummy Jan 26, 2009

    I just dont think there are any words for such an act....well, maybe one...disgusting

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