Hundreds attend funeral for slain S.C. toddlers

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ORANGEBURG, S.C. --- Hundreds of mourners struggling with the deaths of two South Carolina toddlers said goodbye Friday to the energetic, wide-eyed brothers who authorities say were killed by their mother.

Helen Duley places flowers on the caskets of her grandsons Devean Duley, 2, and Ja'van Duley, 18 months, after their funeral. The boys' mother, Shaquan Duley, was not allowed to attend.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Helen Duley places flowers on the caskets of her grandsons Devean Duley, 2, and Ja'van Duley, 18 months, after their funeral. The boys' mother, Shaquan Duley, was not allowed to attend.

People filed past the small white caskets containing the bodies of 2-year-old Devean Duley and 18-month-old Ja'van Duley, some dropping off stuffed animals, books and flowers and pausing for a moment of prayer. The boys were dressed in matching white tuxedos, their hands clasped across their chests.

"Good night from the land of the dying," Pastor Charcey Priester said before a crowd of about 400 mourners gathered at St. Paul Baptist Church in Orangeburg for the boys' funeral. "Good morning to the land of the living."

Divers pulled the boys' bodies from the North Edisto River on Monday morning. Their mother, Shaquan Duley, 29, was charged with two counts of murder after authorities say she confessed to smothering the boys. Investigators said she did so after a fight with her own mother, who Duley said badgered her about her failures as a parent and inability to provide for her family.

Duley is in jail awaiting a bail hearing and was not allowed to attend the service.

After arguing with her mother Sunday night, authorities say, Duley left her daughter at the house and drove her two young sons to a motel, where she suffocated them with her hand. She then strapped them into their car seats, drove to a boat ramp some 10 miles away and rolled the car into the slow-moving water, investigators said.

Before Friday's hourlong service, mourners watched as a slide show played pictures from the family's happier days. One photo showed Devean and Ja'van smiling with their sister, Saniya, on their grandfather's lap. In another, Shaquan Duley smiled as her children played at a playground.

A funeral program noted Devean loved cartoons and being read to. Ja'van loved to play and eat pizza and hot dogs.

On Friday, Helen Duley sat with her granddaughter as Nathaniel Rhodes, a deacon at St. Paul's, called on the congregation not to judge the boys' mother but to put their faith in God.

"There are a lot of questions of why it happened," Rhodes said. "Only God knows why it happened."

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Aura68
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Aura68 08/20/10 - 11:52 am
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Heartbreaking ...

Heartbreaking ...

purmkinhed
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purmkinhed 08/20/10 - 11:59 am
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The one person a child counts

The one person a child counts on the most, Mommy. How sad and heartbreaking. May God bless and keep those beautiful children in his loving arms and my prayers to the family.

sueboo418
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sueboo418 08/20/10 - 12:52 pm
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Saw there pictures on tv and

Saw there pictures on tv and it breaks my heart knowing there are so many young couples that can't have children and would LOVE to have had an opportunity to take those precious little boys into their home.

walrus4ever
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walrus4ever 08/20/10 - 02:21 pm
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Will this one get off without

Will this one get off without the death penalty just like the last one that put her kids in the lake?

Nightwing
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Nightwing 08/20/10 - 02:29 pm
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Ms Duley should be forced to

Ms Duley should be forced to look at their picture the entire time she is behind bars. As the years go by use computer enhanced to show them as they age.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 08/20/10 - 02:44 pm
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What a genuinely great idea,

What a genuinely great idea, Nightwing. And the pictures should be huge, four or five times larger than life-size.

tanbaby
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tanbaby 08/20/10 - 04:23 pm
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well, i know this sounds
Unpublished

well, i know this sounds gruesome, but i think she should have to see what those babies looked like after they pulled them from the water. that is the picture that should haunt her for the rest of her life.

bettyboop
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bettyboop 08/21/10 - 07:13 am
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Wow over 400 people show

Wow over 400 people show up.........if maybe say 5 of them had shown up where these boys were living and offered help they may still be alive.

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