Court documents say that 33-year-old Nicole Johnson drove around Baltimore, Maryland with her dead niece and nephew in the trunk of her car for a year. Joshlyn Marie James Johnson, 7, and Larry Darnell O’Neal, 5, were discovered dead in the car trunk on July 28, 2021 in Baltimore during a traffic stop. 

Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson

Nicole was pulled over for a speeding traffic violation on July 28, 2021 at 11 o'clock at night. 

The car Nicole was driving allegedly had fake paper tags from West Virginia, the vehicle was unregistered, and uninsured. 

The car had to be towed and Nicole went to get personal belongings out of the car trunk. That was when the officer smelled "the unmistakable odor of decomposition," arrest documents state. 

The officer noticed maggots in a clear bag. The officer then saw a suitcase with the dead body of a child inside. Officers say Nicole ran once the officer saw the dead child. Nicole was arrested shortly thereafter.

The body of the second child was discovered inside a plastic tote by other homicide investigators at the scene.

According to the investigation Nicole told investigators that in May 2020 she hit Joshlyn several times, causing the girl to fall and hit her head. 

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Nicole says she placed Joshlyn in a suitcase and put it in the car trunk. Joshlyn's dead body remained in the trunk for the next 14 months.

And then in May 2021, a year later came Larry's death. Larry had a leg injury of some sort and was bleeding. Larry then went to sleep and never woke up. 

Nicole says she put little Larry in a bag and put him next to his sister Joshlyn in the car trunk. 

Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt had this to say: 

“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. 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.”

Autopsies still have to be performed to determine the exact cause of death for Larry and Joshlyn.

Nicole was charged with neglect, failure to report death, disposal of body, and child abuse resulting in death.

Malikah Bennett, 31, is accused of murdering her own daughter and then driving around Charlotte, NC with the dead body in the trunk of an SUV. Malikah was then charged with burying her daughter in a shallow back yard grave.