A New Jersey woman accused of fatally beating her 23-month-old son before dismembering and burning his body will remain jailed until trial after she failed to appear in court this week.
NBC Philadelphia reported that Nakira Griner’s attorney claimed she couldn’t attend Tuesday’s court hearing as it would be detrimental to her health. The lawyer claimed Griner was suffering from severe postpartum depression and on suicide watch. The defense attorney also called the toddler’s death a “terrible accident” and requested a mental health evaluation for the 24-year-old.
The mother-of-two is accused of killing Daniel Griner Jr., whose burned remains were found under a shed, according to CBS Philly, at the family’s Bridgeton home on February 9, a day after she reported his disappearance.
The mother allegedly confessed to officers that she struck Daniel so hard he sustained bruises and fell down a flight of steps because he wouldn’t “eat nor listen to her.” She claimed she left him in his stroller instead of getting help, according to a criminal complaint obtained by KYW.
NJ.com reported that Nakira initially told police that Daniel was in a stroller and her infant son was strapped to her chest when an assailant knocked her to the ground and continued to kick her until she managed to get to her feet. She said it was then she realized the stroller and Daniel were gone, according to the news outlet.
Makeshift memorial stands on the property where detectives found the body of 23-month old Daniel Griner, Jr. Police have arrested his mother 24-year old Nakira Griner. @CBSPhilly #bridgetoncitypolice #CumberlandCounty pic.twitter.com/aaFtXV0dEL
— Crystal Cranmore (@CrystalCranmore) February 10, 2019
Law enforcement reportedly located the stroller—which contained a pair of red sneakers but not Daniel—a few blocks away from the alleged attack. Authorities said Nakira’s story began to change, noting that she changed the street where the assault and abduction occurred.
Surveillance cameras in the area reportedly didn’t film an attack and Nakira failed a lie detector test.
During Tuesday’s court hearing, assistant prosecutor Elizabeth Vogelsong claimed Nakira was filmed walking around with an empty stroller on the night of the toddler’s death. She said investigators who went to the family home mentioned all the windows were open and the residence reeked of a burning smell.
Prosecutors also alleged that law enforcement located Nakira’s missing pocketbook—which contained some of her slain son’s ashes.
Nakira’s lawyer pushed for her client to get home release but restricted from contacting her surviving child, who is with his father. The defense attorney contested the first-degree charges, claiming that Daniel’s death was likely accidental and speculated that Nakira panicked, according to The Daily Journal.
Prosecutors rejected the defense’s account and accused Nakira of leaving her dead son in his stroller to conceal her actions. Additionally, Vogelsong told the judge there’s no evidence supporting that Daniel’s death was an accident—or that his mother has postpartum.
The judge ordered Nakira be detained as there’s probable cause. She’s due back in court in March.
[Featured Image: Nakira Griner, Daniel Griner Jr./Bridgeton police]