By: Kristen Hegel
On Friday, August 20, mourners paid their respects to two loving, energetic boys, two-year-old, Devean Duley, and 18-month-old, Ja’van Duley, whose lives were cut short on the night of August 15. On Monday, August 16, a gruesome discovery was made in the North Edisto River in Orangeburg, SC. Divers pulled the boys’ bodies from a submerged vehicle near a boat landing on the river. After a confession from the boys’ mother, Shaquan Duley, 29, Duley is now being charged with two counts of murder.
According to authorities, on the night of the boys’ murder, Duley and her mother, Helen Duley, got into argument. Duley’s mother criticized her for not being able to provide for her family and her failures as a parent. Shortly after the fight, Duley left her daughter, Saniya Duley, at home and drove to a motel with Devean and Ja’van, where she proceeded to suffocate the boys with her hands. Investigators say she then drove to a boat landing roughly 10 miles from the motel, strapped the boys in their car seats, and rolled the car into the river.
Duley was not allowed to attend the funeral service on Friday, and is in jail waiting for her bail hearing. The hundreds of people that came to the boys’ funeral service left flowers, stuffed animals, books, and prayers by their small white coffins. “There are a lot of questions of why it happened. Only God knows why it happened,” Nathaniel Rhodes, a deacon at St. Paul’s, stated. The Duley family declined speaking with reporters after the funeral. Menia Lee, a friend of the Duley family for 30 years, believes there must be more to the story surrounding the tragic event. Like the rest of the community, Lee is saddened and confused about the young boys’ death. Lee said, “It’s been very difficult to comprehend all of the events around this tragic situation. I think there is a lot more that will probably come out and will let the world know that this is a very good family.” Hopefully justice will be served, and the mourning family can move on in peace.