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Maryland woman accused of starving her toddler to death and throwing body into dumpster

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Kiearra Tolson arrived at the front door unannounced. And to her friend who greeted her, Tolson seemed totally out of it. Even more concerning: Tolson didn’t have her 15-month-old daughter with her.

“Where is my goddaughter?” the friend, Laytay Dahn, recalled asking Tolson.

“Oh, I starved her,” Tolson responded, according to Dahn.

“Where is she?” Dahn asked.

“In the trash,” Tolson said.

The encounter on Wednesday evening between the two 23-year-olds in Beltsville, Md., quickly spun into a criminal investigation that led police to charge Tolson with first-degree murder in the death of her child, Blair Niles. Investigators have yet to find the child’s body, and say it could have been thrown into a garbage bin as many as three weeks ago.

Tolson’s mental health already appears to be front-and-center in the case.

Dahn said Tolson had been speaking Wednesday about her child turning into a demonic snake who could control the weather and needed to be killed. During a brief court hearing Thursday, Tolson’s attorney indicated she had trouble communicating with Tolson after the suspect had been locked in the county jail.

“After speaking, or attempting to speak, with her this morning, I do believe a court diagnostic is needed at this time,” the attorney, Sondra Parry, told Montgomery County District Judge John Moffett.

Moffett ordered the mental health evaluation, to be conducted at the jail, while keeping Tolson, of Silver Spring, there without bond. She is due in court again on July 16.

Tolson’s immediate family could not be reached Thursday, and her attorney declined to comment after the hearing.

Police said they were first led to Tolson after an acquaintance called 911 to report that Tolson had killed her child.

“During a police interview, Tolson told investigators that she had starved her daughter (Blair Niles) for approximately three and a half weeks in the apartment on November Circle where she and her child lived,” Montgomery County police said in a statement.

“It’s just a tragic story,” said Dahn, who recalled what a devoted, caring mother Tolson had been when she had last seen her in January.

“She was a normal, happy baby,” Dahn said. “She loved her mom.”

Blair was born in April 2019. Four months earlier, Dahn had given birth to twins. When the young mothers got together, the children all got along.

“She was fun to be around. She loved her baby,” Dahn said.

Tolson lived in a shelter with her child at times during the past 15 months, Dahn said. Tolson recently had moved into an apartment, according to Dahn.

It was about 8 p.m. Wednesday when Tolson arrived at her door, Dahn said. Tolson began talking so loudly and incoherently that Dahn remembers shutting the door behind her so others in the home couldn’t hear.

After saying she had killed her child, Tolson offered to take Dahn to the trash where she disposed the body in the county’s White Oak area, according to Dahn. She had seemed almost casual in explaining what she had done, Dahn said.

After starving the child, Tolson placed her daughter’s body in a pillowcase and trash bags and discarded it in a dumpster, according to an affidavit filed in Montgomery County District Court.

Tolson told investigators that she discarded the child’s body in a dumpster at the apartment complex, police said.

Investigators said that when they searched her apartment, “a blue pillow case was observed on one pillow, while a second pillow was missing a pillow case.”

According to Dahn, Tolson spoke to her about a counselor instructing her to kill her daughter who had become possessed.

“She said the therapist told me to starve her because she’s a demon,” Dahn said.

Tolson spoke of her child turning into a snake with devil horns, Dahn said.

“She said we gave birth to animals,” Dahn recalled.

Dahn called Blair’s father, who said he had not seen the girl since April, according to police accounts. She then called the police, according to Dahn and court records. In Dahn’s mind, her friend had become overcome by psychotic delusions.

“She was not seeing that little girl,” Dahn said. “She was seeing a demonic snake.”

Alice Crites contributed to this report.