Missing girl, 3, is found dead in park mom, boyfriend charged with murder

July 30, 1994|By Joel Obermayer | Joel Obermayer,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Howard Libit contributed to this report.

A West Baltimore woman who initially reported that her 3-year-old daughter disappeared during a shopping trip was charged yesterday -- along with her live-in boyfriend -- with killing the child, police said.

Darntrell Griffin, 21, and Eric Dorsey, 22, were each charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit murder, child abuse and common assault after Mr. Dorsey led investigators to the girl's body yesterday morning in Leakin Park, police said.

The child, Shante Harris, was found in the woods about 150 feet from Franklintown Road, which runs through the West Baltimore park, police said.

Ms. Griffin and Mr. Dorsey, who live in the 800 block of Vine St., were both awaiting bail hearings before a District Court commissioner last night.

On Wednesday night, Ms. Griffin had called police to report that Shante had disappeared during a shopping trip to Security Square Mall in Baltimore County. However, when authorities checked surveillance videotapes taken by security cameras in the mall, they saw Ms. Griffin and Mr. Dorsey -- but Shante was not with them, said Officer Robert W. Weinhold, a city police spokesman.

Thursday night, acting on a tip, a combined force of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and state police mounted a 12-hour search with bloodhounds and a state helicopter in Leakin Park. But it was not until Mr. Dorsey led them to the precise spot that investigators found the tiny body. He was charged late yesterday afternoon and Ms. Griffin was charged in the evening.

The little girl's body was taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy, authorities said.

Yesterday, neighbors on Vine Street remembered Shante as a lively girl who spoke well and walked with a jaunty step.

"She was a happy-go-lucky kid," said Satya Greenwood, 20, a neighbor whose children sometimes played with Shante. "She was always dancing and skipping, real cute."

Rose Hurt, 62, Shante's greatgrandmother, of the 900 block of Homestead St., said the developments had left her stunned. "I'm shocked, I just can't believe it."

Ms. Hurt said she or her husband, Demies Hurt, 71, often read to Shante or took her to the store for a soda and a Tootsie Roll. In January, the couple helped Shante celebrate her birthday by giving her a new pair of boots, as well as some apples, oranges and nuts.

"She'd just learned to recognize my voice on the phone," said Ms. Hurt, "I'd call and she'd say 'Hi Grandma Rose.' "

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