Woman, child found dead in North Bay Shore

A 21-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son were found dead Friday evening in their Bay Shore home, the victims of homicide, Suffolk County Police said Saturday. Videojournalist: Chris Ware (Dec. 24, 2011)

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A woman and her toddler son were found dead Friday evening in their North Bay Shore home, the victims of homicide, Suffolk County police said Saturday.

The bodies of Shakeela Planter, 21, and Jaiden Planter, 2, were found about 5:15 p.m. at the South Cardinal Court residence. Shakeela Planter was in the bedroom of the basement apartment and Jaiden was found in another room, but authorities won't say where, according to Det. Lt. Gerard V. Pelkofsky, commanding officer of Suffolk's homicide squad.

Planter was unmarried, Pelkofsky said. Neighbors said a man also lived in the apartment with her.

On Friday afternoon, her landlord went to the apartment to "check on her welfare" because she hadn't been seen in a few days, Pelkofsky said.

"We're not sure how many days it is," he said. "It's more than two."

That's when the landlord, who lives in the house upstairs with his wife, came upon Planter's body, and police responding to the scene later found her son.

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It wasn't clear how long Planter, who works in the dietitian's department of Huntington Hospital, had been dead. An autopsy to determine the cause of death was being done this weekend, Pelkofsky said.

"It's obviously not from natural causes. We're considering this a homicide investigation," he said.

He said investigators don't believe the deaths were a random act.

He added that detectives were looking into who else lived in the apartment. Planter, who leased the apartment, had lived there for about six months, Pelkofsky said.

Plainclothes and uniformed police have been in the neighborhood since the grisly discoveries, said next-door neighbor Maston Ellerbe.

Crime scene investigators on Saturday afternoon were taking photographs of the house's lawn area. Police had closed off the block except to residents.

"Oh my God!" said neighbor Liz Rivera. "A baby?"

With Aisha Al-Muslim

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