Documents allege that 33-year-old Nicole Michelle Johnson drove around the dead children in the trunk of her car for months. One of the children had been in the trunk of the car since May of 2020.
Baltimore County Police have charged Johnson with failure to report the deaths of the children, child abuse resulting in death, and neglect.
The bodies of 7-year-old Joshlyn Marie James Johnson and 5-year-old Larry Darnell O’Neal were discovered just after 11 p.m. on Wednesday when officers conducted a traffic stop in Essex, Maryland.
Johnson was initially pulled over for speeding in a car that had fake paper tags from West Virginia. The vehicle was unregistered and uninsured, police say.
The officer issued citations to Johnson, at which point, she allegedly stated:
It don’t matter, I won’t be here in five days. Y’all going to see me on the news, y’all going to see me on the news making my big debut.
The dead children were discovered as the car was being prepared to be towed. Documents state that when Johnson went to the trunk of her car to get her belongings, the officer smelled “the unmistakable odor of decomposition.”
Johnson removed a plastic tote and a clear trash bag from the car. The officer noticed maggots in the clear bag. Johnson claimed that there were just dirty blankets inside the bag.
The officer continued to have Johnson remove the blankets, revealing a suitcase. When Johnson revealed the body of a child inside the suitcase, officers say she ran. She was apprehended a short time later.
The body of the second child was discovered inside the plastic tote by homicide investigators.
Johnson told investigators that both children are her sister’s. She apparently turned them over to Johnson because she said that she could not care for them.
Johnson also told investigators that she was at the Regal Inn in May of 2020 when she became angered at one of the children and hit her several times, causing her to fall and hit her head.
At that time, she said she placed the child in a suitcase and put the suitcase in her car.
Johnson also told investigators about a time two months ago, when the second child wanted to lay down in the back of her car. She said she noticed blood on the child’s left leg but didn’t say more about the injury. The child never woke up. At that point, she put the child in the tote and kept him in the trunk next to his sister.
The autopsy revealed how malnourished the children were. The 7-year-old child weighed 18 pounds when she died. Her 5-year-old brother weighed 21 pounds.