Mother guilty of murdering her 23-month-old son

Nikita Griner

A South Jersey mother was found guilty on Wednesday in the death of her 23-month-old son.

Jurors convicted Nakira M. Griner, 28, of all charges for murdering her 23-month-old son.

Authorities said not only did the mother beat her young child to death, but she dismembered his body and burned the remains.

The boy, Daniel Griner Jr., was reported missing back on February 8, 2019 in Bridgeton, by his mother, who claimed that the toddler had been abducted.

Authorities said the boy was never abducted and his desecrated remains were found on his mother’s property hours following a search.

An autopsy concluded the child died from blunt force trauma.

On Wednesday, a jury found Griner guilty of murder, desecration of human remains and other related offenses.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 21, 2023.

Griner was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder, second-degree desecration of human remains, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, fourth-degree tampering with evidence, and second-degree false public alarm, according to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office.

“As part of the deliberations, the jury also found the child victim was less than 14 years of age, an aggravating factor that would require the defendant face a sentence of mandatory life imprisonment without eligibility for parole,” said Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae.

On Feb. 8, 2019, Griner called 911 several times, saying a man attacked her while she was pushing Daniel in his stroller on the way to a local deli.

The young mother also said she had the child strapped to a holster on her chest, and reportedly told polce that an attacker repeatedly kicked her before he took Daniel and ran off with the stroller.

In a recording of one of the 911 calls obtained, the dispatcher reportedly had trouble understanding a frantic Griner.

“I’m really trying to understand you, but it’s really difficult while you’re crying,” the dispatcher said. “Try to take a deep breath, slow your breathing down and tell me what’s going on so I can help you.”

“I’m hiding,” she told him.

“Who are you hiding from?” the operator asked before Griner ended the call.

The dispatcher then called back and Griner told the story about being attacked.

Police became suspicious as Griner’s story changed over time and she failed a polygraph test.

Investigators who searched the family’s home on Woodland Drive were led by a canine to Daniel’s burned and dismembered remains, which had been stuffed in his mother’s purse and buried under a backyard shed.

He was burned so badly that it was difficult to immediately figure out what happened to him, said authorities.

An autopsy conducted by the county medical examiner concluded that Daniel’s death was a homicide caused by blunt force trauma, after the child had suffered multiple bone fractures.

Griner eventually admitted that she hit Daniel because he “would not eat nor listen to her,” and prosecutors said Griner made calls from jail in which she said that Daniel sustained his injuries by falling down the stairs and that she “did what she did to him” in an effort to cover up the bruises on the boy’s body .

Her attorney said Griner rejected a plea deal because she did not “knowingly and purposefully” cause Daniel’s death.

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