Body Found in Duffel Bag ID'd as Missing Boy, 4, Whose Mother Initially Claimed He Was Hit by Car

4-year-old Damari Carter's body was discovered in an alley less than half a mile away from his mother's apartment nearly five months ago after he went missing

<p></p> Damari Carter

Damari Carter

The body of 4-year-old Damari Carter, who went missing in December, has been found and identified by using DNA evidence, police said.

According to the Philadelphia Police Department, a boy's body was discovered stuffed in a duffle bag in a West Philadelphia neighborhood back on March 18, less than half a mile away from where Damari lived with his mother, Dominique Bailey, 28. Now, two weeks later, police say that DNA confirmed that the body was 4-year-old Damari.

Per the police, a maintenance worker discovered a Puma-brand bag in the alleyway behind the 600 block of North 38th Street in the Mantua neighborhood.

Related: 'Damari Was My Heart': Dad of Pa. Boy, 4, Speaks Out After Boy's Mom & Her Boyfriend Are Charged with Murder (Exclusive)

According to a press release from police, the body was so "severely decomposed" that investigators could not determine an identity at first and only discovered it was Damari after DNA testing.

<p></p> Damari Carter

Damari Carter

Damari was first reported missing on December 30 by family members who said they had not seen the 4-year-old in weeks. His mother initially said that he had been killed in a car accident, but police said they found no record of the incident.

The discovery of his body comes after investigators told Damari's family members that were unlikely to find his body, Damari’s cousin, Aiyana Parrish, previously told PEOPLE.

Related: Pa. Mom Said Her Missing 4-Year-Old Was Hit by a Car. Now She and Boyfriend Are Accused of Murdering Him

On December 7, Bailey and her boyfriend Kevin Spencer's downstairs neighbor "heard Damari screaming," as the little boy was allegedly beaten, Staff Inspector Ernest Ransom of the Philadelphia Police Department previously told PEOPLE.

According to a police report obtained by PEOPLE, Bailey eventually told investigators that her son had died soon after the beating and that Spencer then put his body "in a trashcan," but she refused give any further location, the report alleges. Security footage obtained by police also allegedly shows Spencer "dragging a trash bag out of the house," according to footage cited in the report.

In an interview with police in January, Bailey told investigators that "she did see Kevin Spencer beat Damari frequently and that on the day he went missing, Spence beat him so bad that his head was swollen and his eyes were blackened," per the police report.

<p>Philadelphia Police Department</p> Kevin Spencer, left, and Dominique Carter

Philadelphia Police Department

Kevin Spencer, left, and Dominique Carter

Bailey and Spencer were arrested in relation to Damari's death in January and have both been charged with a number of crimes, including murder, endangering the welfare of a child, abuse of a corpse and conspiracy. The couple are next due in court on June 18, according to court documents, and police say the homicide investigation is still ongoing. It is unclear if they've retained attorneys to speak on their behalf.

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Damari's aunt Nakia Bailey told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she was glad her nephew could finally be put to rest.

"I'm just glad that his remains were found," Nakia Bailey told the the outlet. "Because that was sitting not so well with any of the family, us not knowing where he was. We're still trying to wrap our heads around this situation happening at all."

"Innocence lost for what?" Bailey added. "I'll never get to see him grow up. It's devastating."

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