Police: Woman Drove For Year With Niece, Nephew in Trunk

Baltimore County Police have charged her with abuse leading to their deaths
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2021 1:07 PM CDT

Baltimore County police pulled over a woman for a traffic stop, and found the remains of two children in the trunk of the car. When police ran the driver’s tags and learned they were fake, they told her the car would be towed. That’s when the officer smelled something awful and searched the car, WJZ reports. Nicole Johnson said she had been asked to take care of her niece and nephew for her sister, Dachelle Johnson, in 2019, the Daily Beast reports. Johnson told police she had been living with the kids in a hotel in May 2020 when she hit the girl, Joshlyn Johnson. Joshlyn, 7, fell, hit her head, and Johnson stuffed her in a suitcase and put her in the trunk.

She said her nephew, Larry O’Neil was injured two months later and never woke up, so she put him in a plastic tote and put him in the trunk, too. He was only 5. Police say the children appeared to have been underweight and malnourished, too. Joshlyn weighed 18 pounds and Larry weighed 21 pounds at autopsy. Dachelle Johnson said she had tried to pick up her kids in March but her sister never showed up. “This truly was a devastating incident—one that not only shocked our community to its core, but significantly affected our patrol officers, forensic technicians, and detectives,” Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt told WJZ. (More child abuse stories.)

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