Remains of child found in duffel bag in Philadelphia neighborhood identified as missing boy

May 1, 2024, 2:24 PM

A decomposed body found earlier this year in a duffel bag in Philadelphia has been identified as a 4-year-old boy who authorities say was beaten to death.

The body of Damari Carter was found March 18 in the city’s Mantua neighborhood by a worker who was cleaning out an alleyway. Authorities initially could not determine the child’s age, gender and identity, but Carter eventually was identified through DNA testing, police said Wednesday.

The child was last seen alive in early December but was not reported missing until Dec. 30. His remains were found less than half a mile from where he lived with his mother, Dominique Bailey, and her boyfriend, Kevin Spencer. They are charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, child endangerment and related counts in his death.

Authorities have said they began investigating after finding discrepancies in Bailey’s account of her son’s death. They said she initially told relatives her son died at a hospital after being hit by a car.

Bailey eventually claimed she watched Spencer beat Carter at their home on Dec. 7 until he lost consciousness, authorities said. When they later realized the boy was dead, they disposed of the body, she told police, according to authorities. However, the couple did not tell investigators say where the put the corpse, authorities said.

A preliminary hearing for Bailey and Spencer is scheduled for June 18. The Associated Press left messages with their attorneys seeking comment.

The Mantua section is in western Philadelphia, near the Schuylkill River. It is home to the Philadelphia Zoo and is near the campus of Drexel University.

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Remains of child found in duffel bag in Philadelphia neighborhood identified as missing boy