2 Dayton children found dead, decomposing in trunk of car in Maryland; aunt charged with child abuse

Two Dayton children, ages 5 and 7, were found dead and decomposing in the trunk of their aunt’s car in Baltimore County, Maryland and now the aunt is facing criminal charges.

Larry O’Neil III and Joshlyn Johnson lived in Dayton up until about two years ago, when their mother headed to Maryland.

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Family members in their old neighborhood were shocked by their deaths and never dreamed their lives would end so soon.

“Sometimes I can’t even speak. It’s so horrific,” said LaQuata O’Neil, the grandmother of Larry O’Neill III.

Her world cave in all because of a social media post.

“Let me tell you how I found out about these kids deaths, through Facebook, she had a GoFund me page,” LaQuata O’Neil said.

The aunt of the two children, Nicole Johnson, faces charges of child abuse, neglect of a minor, failure to report a child death and bury/disposing a body in an unauthorized place, according to Baltimore County court records.

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LaQuata O’Neil said the children’s mother moved them to Baltimore two years ago, when an aunt she stayed with for childcare in Dayton died.

O’Neil has now learned that the children’s mother immediately asked Johnson to care for the children when they arrived in Baltimore.

But, that ended in tragedy.

Police in Maryland made a routine traffic stop on the vehicle Johnson was driving July 28 and smelled a foul odor from the vehicle.

Officers eventually discovered both children in the trunk of the car, decomposing.

“She could have just left them, I would have taken both of those kids,” LaQuata O’Neil said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Baltimore County Police Department all are involved in the investigation.

“The entire Baltimore County Police Department grieves with the community over the unspeakable deaths of two innocent children,” Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said. “The investigation into this atrocious crime will not stop until those responsible are brought to justice.”

A number of family members left Dayton Tuesday to head to Maryland to help with funeral arrangements for both children.