Local News

Mother charged in Garner toddler's death

Posted January 22, 2009 8:22 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— The mother of a 19-month-old boy found dead in a Garner apartment in November has been arrested in the toddler’s death.

Garner Police Thursday charged Sherita Nicole McNeil, 23, of Garner, with first-degree murder and with concealing the death of a person, Sgt. Chris Clayton said in a release.

Family members found the body of Devarion Gross Nov. 14 in a sealed, white plastic garbage bag in a closet at the boy's 1852 Spring Drive home, which he shared with McNeil, and a 2-year-old sister.

Concerned about the boy and unable to contact McNeil, family members had gone to the house.

The plastic bag was underneath some sheets inside a plastic container, and someone had poured bleach on the sheets to mask the smell, according a search warrant released in December.

Garner police and EMS responded to a 911 call from the home shortly after 10 p.m. McNeil and her daughter were not home, according to another warrant.

Police later made contact with McNeil at a friend's home.

Family members had not seen the child in more than a month, the warrant said. McNeil had told the family he was staying with a close friend.

In a search of the home, investigators also found letters from McNeil and the boy's father, Eric Chambers. In the letters, Chambers expressed concern over McNeil's getting rid of their son, according to the warrant.

McNeil first came to authorities' attention on Nov. 3 when someone called Wake County Child Protective Services to suggest that they check on Devarion. McNeil was supposed to meet police and bring her son, but that meeting never happened.

McNeil was parenting both children alone. Chambers is in prison.