Local News

Caretaker cries on stand remembering child who died

Posted August 12, 2010

— A day care worker cried Thursday as she recalled DeVarion Gross, a child she remembered as “very smart” and a “good kid.”

DeVarion lived only about 19 months. His body was found, wrapped in a garbage bag and doused in bleach, in his mother’s closet in November 2008. Authorities have estimated he had been dead for weeks.

DeVarion’s mother, Sherita McNeil, is on trial for first-degree murder and concealing the death of a person.

Kathy Williams told jurors she cared for DeVarion when he was about 8 months old.

Child remembered as 'smart,' 'good' Child remembered as 'smart,' 'good'

“He liked playing with his friends, his cousin, and he was just happy,” she said.

She recalled being concerned that DeVarion may have been abused. She said he arrived at day care one day with a busted lip. Another time, when she changed his shirt, Williams recalled seeing another injury.

“When I took it off, I noticed he had a mark on his back. It was made by a belt,” she testified.

She added that McNeil had a red belt that she wore all the time.

Also Thursday, Garner Detective Christine Pappas testified about questioning McNeil after DeVarion’s body was found.

“I asked her if she meant for him to die," Pappas said. "She didn't move, and she said, ‘I didn't do nothing.’"

Thursday was the fourth day of emotional testimony at the trial. The jury has heard from his grandmother and others who claimed to see signs the boy was neglected or abused.

McNeil’s defense attorney, Bryan Collins, said DeVarion hit his head on a coffee table accidentally, and his mother was too scared to report his death.


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  • wildcat Aug 13, 2010

    This mother was not afraid to bag her child and hide him in a closet, but was afraid to report his death. Who is she fooling besides herself?

  • wildcat Aug 13, 2010

    If the grandmother and others saw this child was abused what kept them from reporting this mother? I hope this child's memory will always be with them and never go away. Knowing that they could have done something to protect this child and did nothing is so sickening. I hope they now see themselves and their worth.

  • wildcat Aug 13, 2010

    What kind of day-care worker are you, when you notice or see abuse marks on a child and say nothing or report to the police? That says a lot about you and I would not want my child under your care. Seem you are more interested in the dollar than the welfare and care of the child. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • wildcat Aug 13, 2010

    babsd24 - what a wonderful person you and the other lady was. May the step-father get his just. Good comment!

  • wildcat Aug 13, 2010

    Now all these witnesses have come forward to tell their story in court. WOW! Why in the world did they not report the mother when they saw "red flags" of abuse? I feel they are just as guilty as the mother for not reporting the abuse they saw on the child. Shame on them all. This child could have been saved.

  • ANGELLUV Aug 13, 2010

    What would the world be without GRANDMA'S....Now if I hadnt seen my grandkids in a day or two I would not hesitate to keep looking until I found them. Now if I went to the house and could not get in on the 1st try...then I just would have busted the door down cause apparently something is not right! Grandma...what were you doing and what was your thought process...was it clogged?

  • babsd24 Aug 13, 2010

    So many people see this abuse and say or do nothing. Are you afraid to speak up, who are you afraid of? I was driving out of the Lowe's parking lot a couple of months ago when I saw a man beating on a young boy right there in the parking lot. The mother was watching, the stepfather beat her son in the head and chest. The young boy was covering his head and bent over. I pulled my car close in and dialed 911 and made sure this man could see me. I waited for the police to arrive. Thankfully another lady behind me stayed to talk to the police even though she was parked a bit away she stayed. The man saw that I had called the police and told his wife.... He looked at me and said go ahead call them... I replied back I DID!

  • babsd24 Aug 13, 2010

    Out of all the people that have testified family, friends, etc. not one reported the abuse. Step up people save these children!

  • peaceout Aug 12, 2010

    I hope they put this person under the jail...so many would have taken and cared for him...so sad...

  • jaecee452 Aug 12, 2010

    hrere3554-No the report says that a search warrant was executed in December on the father's cell. He was obviously incarcerated when this happened.