Local News

Trial begins for mother of toddler found in trash can

Posted August 9, 2010 10:42 a.m. EDT
Updated August 9, 2010 5:44 p.m. EDT

— Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of a Garner mother who is accused of killing her young son.

Sherita Nicole McNeil, of 1852 Spring Drive, faces charges of first-degree murder and concealing the death of a person – her son, DeVarion Gross.

How DeVarion died is a mystery. His autopsy showed the child, about 19 months old, was subject to “undetermined homicidal violence” and may have suffered abuse.

DeVarion's grandmother called police after she found his body in a trash can at McNeil’s house in November 2008. Investigators have said that they believe the boy had been dead for weeks.

A search of McNeil’s home on Nov. 14 revealed DeVarion’s body, wearing only a diaper, wrapped in two plastic bags in a trash can that had been drenched with bleach.

Police said DeVarion was last seen alive Oct. 3, 2008.

"Sherita McNeil repeatedly lied to family, friends and others about her son's welfare and whereabouts," Garner Police Chief Tom Moss said.

Wake County Child Protective Services had two reports from individuals concerned about DeVarion, said Warren Ludwig, child welfare administrator for Wake County, including allegations that McNeil never wanted the child and was having financial difficulties.

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.

CPS did not act on those reports, but sent a letter detailing the information to the Garner Police Department for review.

A jury was expected to be seated and opening arguments to begin on Tuesday.