Local News

Baby sitter accused of kidnapping appears in court

Posted May 31, 2009 11:05 p.m. EDT
Updated June 1, 2009 7:24 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.