A Missouri woman faces new charges for allegedly beating 4-year-old Darnell Gray to death and stashing his body in the woods in 2018.
Then-Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson initially charged Quatavia Givens with second-degree murder, endangering the welfare of a child resulting in death and abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death.
This week, current Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson dismissed the original charges after a Cole County Grand Jury returned an indictment for first-degree murder and abuse or neglect of a child.
Givens — who Darnell’s father Kijuanis Gray said was a “trusted” friend, was watching Gray — reportedly told police the boy was last seen when he went to sleep between 11 p.m. and midnight on Oct. 24, 2018. Darnell’s mother reported him missing around 7 a.m. the next day.
More than 100 first responders searched the area for more than five days until the child’s body was found in nearby woods.
Givens reportedly told police the child was either abducted from the home or ran away. Later, she reportedly said she may have inflicted injury, stating “I may have hit him wrong,” and reportedly admitted to knowing the location of his remains.
The autopsy showed the child suffered “multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma and sharp force trauma to multiple locations of the body inflicted prior to death,” according to the Probable Cause Statement filed in October 2018.
“That’s my only child that I had, my only child,” Gray told the Associated Press. He described his son as smiley and “goofy.”
″He loved to run around with me. He loved to play basketball.”
The St. Charles Police Department and the United States Marshal Service arrested Givens in St. Charles, Missouri, and transported her to Jefferson City. Givens was previously free on bail from the original charges in 2018.
She was ordered held without bond at the Cole County Jail.