Local News

Baby sitter accused of kidnapping appears in court

Posted May 31, 2009
Updated June 1, 2009

— A 17-year-old baby sitter accused of kidnapping a 9-month-old Raeford girl over a week ago made her first court appearance in North Carolina Monday.

Renesha Shante Griner was given a public defender, James Hedgpeth, to represent her. She has another hearing scheduled for June 17.

She arrived in Hoke County late Sunday after being extradited from Alabama. She faces first-degree kidnapping charges in the disappearance of Saniya Jaynelle Purcelle on May 23.

Griner and the baby were both found unharmed in Opp, Ala., Thursday, and Saniya was returned to her family Friday.

Baby sitter appears in court Baby sitter appears in court

Investigators said that Griner had been lying to her 20-year-old ex-boyfriend for the past year, telling him she was pregnant and had had his baby. After babysitting Saniya once, she conceived of the idea to pass the baby off as her own, investigators said.

"I guess she was thinking about what she wanted. She didn't think about how it would affect everybody else," Saniya's grandmother Shelby Day said.

Investigators said that Griner had no intentions of returning the baby and gave Saniya a new name. The family of her ex-boyfriend fell in love with the baby, although some suspicions lingered, Saniya's family said.

"They were asking about when the baby was born, where she was born and all this information and said the girl kept giving them the runaround," Saniya's great-grandmother Donna Clark said.

Once investigators tracked down the babysitter and infant, the ex-boyfriend's family sent Saniya home along with things they bought for her – a quilt, clothes, a stuffed lion.

Investigators said Griner does not have a past criminal history.


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  • lorivalentine1 Jun 1, 2009

    Clearly there is a reason the boyfriend is no longer around. I am glad the baby is back home safe and sound. This girl needs serious help.

  • teacher-mom Jun 1, 2009

    I am glad the baby was returned to her parent. I hope the kidnapper gets some mental health assistance. I am afraid it is not going to happen with things like they are now. I am glad the baby is ok. I do not know what the young woman (kidnapper) will do now.

  • HappyGirl08 Jun 1, 2009

    Well, on the flip side of who leaves their kid w/a teenager for the weekend...whose parents would let a teenager keep a kid for the weekend?? Surely not mine. I used to babysit all the time when I was that age but you better believe that I would not have wanted to or been allowed to keep a child over nights like that.

  • SouthernDivaNC Jun 1, 2009

    The weekend the little girl was taken was the same weekend people head to the beach!

  • happymom Jun 1, 2009

    "happymom-ten years ago i didn't get 250 from the gov't to help me raise my child. i did it the old fashion way, i worked for it. i would have gladly accepted $250.

    Nor have I, but I've also been around enough to know that it is sometimes necessary to have TEMPORARY help. As a taxpayer, I have absolutely no problem giving it.

    What I do have a problem with is people assuming that just because someone is black, that person MUST be on some type of government assistance. There was no mention of any type of governmental assistance in the story whatsoever, but somehow this thread has ended up on the topic.


  • happymom Jun 1, 2009


    It amazes me how one can be so racist, what does this girls race have to do with her kidnapping a baby. And for the record there are 3 times as many whites getting assistance as there are blacks you are just to ignorant to notice.

    Reread my comment. It wasn't racist. It was actually anti-racist (in response to someone else's racist comment). I was pointing out that race is NOT a factor in deciding TANF assistance.

  • ShareTheRoad Jun 1, 2009

    "I am assuming by the look of the grandmother, that the child's mother can't be that old. She may be a teenager herself. That is the only reason I could see a mother leaving her child for the weekend with a 17 year old.

    The caption for that pic says she is holding her GREAT grand daughter. She looks pretty young to be a GREAT GRANDMOTHER. Heck, the first time I saw that image, I thought that woman was the MOTHER, not two generations of mothers later. What on earth. How old ARE these women? Are we talking about three generations of early teen moms?

  • tnt2 Jun 1, 2009

    Yes, this girl needs to be punished and it WAS a horrible, frightening thing that she did. But let's not forget that she is still a child herself. Her brain is still developing and her reasoning isn't all that it (hopefully) will be when she's full grown. And I'm guessing that she probably hasn't had a whole lot of parental guidance - plainly she hasn't had ENOUGH. I do hope she's punished, but I also hope that she gets the help that she needs.
    That said - what kind of nut job lets a 17-year-old babysit a baby for more than a couple of hours?

  • tbm24 Jun 1, 2009

    where is the 17 yr old's parents? There has been no mention of them in any of these articles.

  • Con Amor luvs u regardless Jun 1, 2009

    WoW! The web of lies that this girl has sewn for herself! I bet she feels SO dumb now! I bet she's not even sorry for what she put the family of the baby thru. But I'm sure she's more concerned about what the ex boyfriend and his family think of her. I hope that she is delt wit!