Caregiver Charged in Death of 4-Year-Old Chicago Boy She Reported Missing

Quatavia Givens was charged with first-degree child abuse in connection with the death of Darnell Gray. (Cole County Jail/Darnell Gray family)

A woman who reported a 4-year-old boy, who was originally from Chicago, missing about a week before the child’s body was found was charged Wednesday in his death.

Quatavia Givens, 26, was charged with neglect or abuse of a child resulting in death.

Investigators said Givens was caring for Darnell Gray on Oct. 24 at a Jefferson City housing complex while his father was at work. She reported him missing the next morning, prompting an intense search before his body was found on Tuesday in Jefferson City.

A probable cause statement filed Wednesday with the charge said Givens initially told officers that Darnell either was abducted or ran away during the night.

Darnell’s body was found in a wooded area after Davis told investigators she knew where the body was, according to the statement.

She reportedly told police that she hurt the child, saying “I may have hit him wrong,” the statement said.

An autopsy found several injuries caused by blunt force trauma and sharp force trauma on the boy’s body.

Police have not specified the relationship between Givens and Darnell’s family. No other children lived at the apartment.

During the search, authorities went door-to-door, drained a retention pond and used a helicopter to search for Darnell. An $11,000 reward was offered for information on his whereabouts.

Darnell’s mother went on TV to beg for tips during the search.

Williams said police aren’t identifying either parent because it is “not something we would do to any victim.” Police haven’t provided details of the relationship between the parents.

The probable cause statement also indicates concern that Givens had told investigators she planned to travel to Florida “to get out of the area.” Online court records don’t show an attorney for Givens.