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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 06, 2020

Neptune Teens Plead Guilty in Murder of Newborn

Howell Tristan Reyes Arrested 15 following women rob

Two teens have pleaded guilty in connection with a March 2019 infanticide in Neptune Township, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

Jada M. McClain, 18, of Neptune Township, pleaded guilty to first degree aggravated manslaughter. Quaimere Mohammed, 19, also of Neptune Township, pleaded guilty to second degree disturbing or desecrating human remains in connection with the death of a newborn baby.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, McClain faces a sentence of 10 years in prison on the aggravated manslaughter subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring her to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. Mohammed faces a sentence of five years in state prison on the disturbing or desecrating human remains offense.

On April 4, 2019, the Asbury Park Police Department received a report that  McClain, a student at Neptune Township Regional High School, had recently given birth and that the newborn was deceased. The investigation was referred to the Neptune Township Police Department who, together with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, launched an investigation into the matter.

The joint investigation revealed that McClain had become pregnant by her boyfriend, Quaimere Mohammed, a student at Asbury Park High School, sometime in July 2018. McClain explained to investigators that she hid the fact that she was pregnant from her parents and that she gave birth to a boy in the early morning hours of March 29, 2019, in her home. After giving birth to the child, McClain pressed her hands on the boy’s chest until he stopped breathing. McClain contacted Mohammed, and later that morning, the two disposed of the child’s body in a dumpster on Monroe Avenue in Asbury Park. Investigators later recovered surveillance video which captured Mohammed disposing of the child’s body near the Washington Village apartment complex.

Investigators learned that the contents of the dumpster, including the newborn’s remains, were transported to the Monmouth County Reclamation Center in Tinton Falls, where they were compacted and buried. The infant’s body was never recovered.

McClain and Mohammed are scheduled to appear in Superior Court for sentencing for their crimes before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman on March 20. McClain remains incarcerated in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, where she has been detained since her arrest.

“This case is a horrible tragedy,” Gramiccioni said. “An infant is dead and two young people are going to prison. None of this should have happened. Young persons who are not yet ready for parenthood need to understand that there are safe, legal and completely confidential ways to give up custody of a newborn.”

On Aug. 7, 2000, the New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act became law. The law allows a parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant to give up custody of a baby who is less than 30 days old, safely, legally and anonymously. All that is required is that the baby be brought to a hospital emergency room or police station in New Jersey. As long as the child shows no signs of intentional abuse, no names or other information is required from the person delivering the baby.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Joseph Competello and Stephanie Dugan. McClain is represented by Thomas Catley Esq. of Ocean Grove. Mohammed is represented by Stephen Nelson Esq., of Neptune Township.