BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The body of a missing four-year-old was found in a dumpster in Northwest Baltimore, and his mother and her partner have been taken into custody and charged in connection to his death.

Both women are charged with neglect resulting in the death of a child- and they could be facing additional charges once the investigation is complete.

The two-day investigation came to a tragic end when investigators found the body of four-year-old Malachi Lawson.

“It shocked me,” said neighbor Henry Bideshi. “It’s not easy, it’s not easy to really digest,”

Malachi’s mother, 25-year-old Alicia Lawson, originally told police that she left her son alone on his grandmother’s porch on North Rogers Ave in Northwest Baltimore.

She said when she returned home, he was gone.

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State police brought in a canine unit to help with the search, while volunteers handed out flyers with Malachi’s picture and then there was a break in the case.

“After extensive interviews with Malachi’s mother, Alicia Lawson, she confessed that her son was not missing but deceased,” said Baltimore police commissioner Michael Harrison.

The child’s body was discovered inside a dumpster with signs of physical injury.

“It’s very sad because I knew the grandmother and grandfather,” another neighbor said.

Lawson and her partner, 40-year-old Shatika Lawson were arrested and charged.

Court records indicate that Shatika Lawson does have a criminal past with charges ranging from armed robbery to second-degree assault- but all of those charges were eventually dismissed.

“You ask yourself the question, are the kids even safe at home these days?” said Devin Cheese, a neighbor.

Devin Cheese said he walks along North Rogers every day on his way to work. He said he used to see Malachi playing outside his grandma’s house and there was never any indication something was wrong.

“What did the kids do to them? Absolutely nothing. There’s no excuse about the crime about what that mother did to that little boy,” He said.

The medical examiner is doing an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

There could be additional charges depending on the result of that autopsy.

Rachel Menitoff

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