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Jefferson City

New details in death of 4-year-old after woman now charged with murder

Quatavia Givens in court
ABC 17 News
Quatavia Givens appears with her public defender during a hearing at the Cole County Courthouse.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

A grand jury indictment says a woman accused in the death of a 4-year-old Jefferson City boy caused his death by hitting and smothering him.

A Cole County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Quatavia Givens with second-degree murder, endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse or neglect resulting in the death of 4-year-old Darnell Gray.

Court documents say that Givens allegedly struck and smothered Gray, resulting in his death.

Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson secured the murder indictment against Givens from a grand jury on Tuesday night. Thompson Told ABC17 News he filed the charges after reviewing new evidence in the case.

The new charges come nearly one year after Darnell Gray's body was found. A local group, Missouri Missing is holding a vigil Wednesday in honor the the 1 year anniversary

The Vigil will be held in Washington Park at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

"The whole idea is just to remember little Darnell," Founder of Missouri Missing, Marianne Asher-Chapman said Wednesday. "Because he is just an innocent little child and the community's little child."

Asher-Chapman said she is happy with the new charges, and that they will help to give the family closure, "I just think that eventually the truth will all come out and the family will get their answers."

"I just want justice for this child, and I think hes's going to get it too," Asher-Chapman said.

Asher-Chapman said during the search for Darnell Gray, she worked with Givens.

"It was hard to be with her, to be honest," Asher-Chapman said. "You have to give her the benefit of the doubt but she was crying for this child. It's pretty sad, that whole situation, it was pretty sad."

"I had a very bad feeling from the very beginning, but it's not for me to judge." Asher-Chapman said.

Givens posted bond and was released from the Cole County Jail earlier this month. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem lowered Givens' bond last month from $100,000 cash-only to $5,000 cash over Thompson's objection.

Thompson told ABC17 that he believed the bond Given's posted remains in effect. At last check around 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Cole County Jail did not have Givens in custody.

Asher-Chapman said she wondered why Givens was not taken back into custody, "I think overall, a lot of people are upset about that," she said. "We're just here to support his family and honor him."

Thompson said he believes a trial is still set to happen in July.

Gray's body was found in the 2100 block of Louis Circle last October after several days of searches involving police and volunteers. Givens, who was caring for the boy at the time, initially told police he was missing, according to court documents.

Givens had been charged with one count of child abuse or neglect resulting in death.

Givens' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6 for more.

Child Abuse / Cole / Court and Trials / Crime / Homicide / News / Top Stories

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday early evening shows, as well as Saturday nights.

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