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A Baltimore woman was arrested after cops found the starved and decomposing bodies of her niece and nephew in the trunk of her car during a traffic stop, police said Friday.
Nicole Johnson, 33, was charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in death after Thursday’s gruesome discovery, Baltimore County Police announced.
According to charging documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun, Johnson was pulled over just after 11 p.m. for allegedly driving without a license, and with fake temporary tags and registration. She was told her car would have to be towed.
“It don’t matter, I won’t be here in five days,” she told the officer, according to the filling. “Y’all going to see me on the news making my big debut.”
Officers smelled something off as Johnson took items out of her car. She tried to cover a suitcase with a blanket as she removed it — before a body was exposed, the court docs allege.
Johnson tried to flee but was quickly apprehended, cops said.
The children, later identified as her niece and nephew, 7-year-old Joshlyn Johnson and 5-year old Larry O’Neil, were severely malnourished, according to the Sun. The girl weighed only 18 pounds while her younger brother weighed 20 pounds.
“According to doctors, it would have taken several months of malnourishment to attain these weights,” the charging document said.
Johnson allegedly admitted to detectives that she had been driving around with the corpses in her trunk for months, according to the report.
In May 2020, Johnson told investigators, she hit Joshlyn several times, causing the girl’s head to hit the floor. Johnson then allegedly put the child in a suitcase in the trunk of her car.
Johnson then said two months ago, little Larry went to sleep after feeling tired and never woke up, the documents said. She put his body in a tote in the trunk next to his sister.
Johnson told detectives that she had been responsible for the children since 2019 when her sister moved from Maryland to Ohio and could no longer care for them, the Sun reported.
“I don’t know what to say but I know they both have to be buried. Please help me. My babies are gone for no reason,” the children’s mother Dachelle Johnson wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post, with a link to a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral costs, according to the report.
The fundraising page has since been closed since she’s “found someone that will do it for free,” according to the page.
“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 said in a statement on Friday.
“I am grateful that the harrowing details of this case were thoroughly and quickly uncovered, resulting in an expeditious closure to this tragedy. I want to commend all of our Baltimore County Police Department members who worked tirelessly throughout this investigation to bring justice to these innocent, young victims.”
Johnson is currently being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center in Towson, Maryland.
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