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BRIDGETON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — A New Jersey woman accused of killing her toddler son told police she struck the boy because he wouldn’t eat or listen, according to a criminal complaint. Nakira Griner, who is charged with murder and other counts in the death of 23-month-old Daniel Griner Jr., is accused of burning and dismembering her son’s body.
It was not known Monday if she has retained an attorney.
Cumberland County prosecutors have said the Bridgeton woman initially reported that her son had been abducted Friday night. A response team began a search aided by city and state police, prosecutors, and bloodhounds from New Jersey State Park Police.
The child’s burned and dismembered remains were found around 3 a.m. Saturday, buried under a shed in the yard of Griner’s home.
Griner told police she hit the boy because he wouldn’t “eat nor listen to her,” according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint said Griner admitted striking the child so hard that she left bruises on his face and also said he fell down a flight of stairs. After striking the child, she didn’t call for help, but placed him in a stroller and left him alone.
Griner told police responding to the abduction report that a stranger had attacked her while she was walking with her toddler in a stroller and her infant son strapped to her chest, according to the complaint. She said her assailant kicked her and she fell to the ground as the attacker continued to kick her in the head and right side.
When she looked up, the stroller and Daniel was gone, she told police. Officers soon found the stroller, containing only a pair of red sneakers, a few blocks away. Griner’s story began to change during subsequent interviews with police, authorities said.
A family friend says she is in shock over what happened.
“Hearing this as soon as I saw — the first thing I saw was on Facebook — and I started pacing back and forth wishing it was not true,” said the family friend who asked not to be identified.
Neighbors were also stunned to find out why authorities were working through the night just down the street from their front door.
“It’s sad. I have two boys of my own. I can’t imagine any mother doing that to her children. It’s very sad and disturbing at the same time,” neighbor Shanice Wilson said.
Griner is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a detention hearing. She is currently being held at Cumberland County Jail.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)