A look inside Room 31
August 19th, 2010
06:26 PM ET

Exclusive: Inside room where Shaquan Duley's boys died

Manager Renu Patel can't even go near Room 31 at the Trump Inn Motel in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

What happened inside is just too much to bear, she said.

At the end of the hallway, behind the maroon door with the number fixed above the peephole, is where police say Shaquan Duley pressed her hands over the mouths of her two toddlers and suffocated them. She is accused of then strapping them into their car seats and sending her car off of a boat ramp and into the Edisto River.

Duley's attorney cautions against a rush to judgment and says there's more to the story than meets the eye.

But Patel says she knows enough to make her want to avoid the scene of an alleged crime that has stunned her community.

"I don't feel like opening it right now," Patel said when asked about Room 31, the last unit in the single-floor complex. "Even if I just stand in front, I remember all that she had done to those kids because I am a mother, too."

Outside the room, remnants of police tape are still fixed to the door. Placed on the welcome mat are flowers and balloons, one an "It's a boy" new baby balloon, although it was changed to reflect that there were two boys: Devean and Ja'avan Duley, ages 2 and 1.

Patel put the mementos outside the room after police finished combing it for evidence Tuesday. Ever since, she says, she can't even walk to the back of the lot, much less venture inside the room where two young lives ended.

"I was shaking," Patel said. "That was anger on her, and I felt sad for the kids."

So she handed me a master key with the number 31 on it but said she couldn't go with me. Before she handed over the key, Patel said that nobody else had been inside besides Duley and police.

Inside the room, the scent of cigarette smoke lingered. Water slowly dripped into the rusted sink. A white sheet was still tightly fitted to the room's lone wooden bed, but the cover lay ruffled at the foot.

A pair of blue latex gloves left behind by investigators remained in a lone trash can. Most of the belongings inside were carried away by police in three or four brown evidence bags, Patel says.

The room hasn't been cleaned since police were there, and workers say they can't bring themselves to go inside, either.

Patel recalled that Duley seemed a bit nervous when she came to the motel window and inquired about a room early Monday morning, but she thought nothing of it. Duley paid with a $100 bill, and Patel never saw her with a car or her two children.

She was gone before check-in time, something Patel knows only because police officers first came to the motel, looking for Duley.

Patel, who has owned the motel since 1997, said she told officers that if Duley came back, she'd be sure to let them know.

"She's not coming back," one officer responded.

And that was the last time Patel went near Room 31.

Related stories:

- South Carolina mom makes first appearance on murder charges

- What drives a mom to kill?

- Susan Smith prosecutor: Duley case 'brings it all back'

soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. flowerbut

    55

    August 20, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. flowerbut

    Shaquan Duley is one of my friends and she is extremely depressed and had been dealing with sucidal issues for many many years. She did not kill these childred, this is a setup.
    please try with your inner heart to understand innocent until proven guilty, right people.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • LADYR

      PLEASE...THAT ALL I HAVE TO SAY....THERE ARE POEPLE OUT THERE THAT WANTS CHILDREN AND CAN'T HAVE THEM OR HAVE TROUBLE GETTING PREGNANT...AND YOU WANT US TO UNDERSTAND?????????? IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT HER IT ABOUT THOSE KIDS WHO ARE NOW DEAD!!!!!!!BECAUSE OF THEIR MOTHER

      August 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gawdess90

      Seriously?! Is it also part of the set up that she admitted to murdering her babies? And exactly which hay wagon did you fall off of? Go home, go visit your friend, just go away!

      August 21, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    What ever happened to the concept of actually marrying your child's father BEFORE you have one baby after another after another? Why keep having them when you are obviously unable to afford them in addition to putting a huge emotional and financial burden on your family. I know, I know....she was poor and uneducated, blah blah blah. Were is the father(s)? Why is the sheriff so sympathetic to her and ignores the fact she just butchered two little boys...unless she is classified as mildly retarted, which could be the case as she claimed she was in the water with them when her clothes were dry, not the sharpest tool in the shed. This was not some teenager, this was an adult with plenty of time to think things through before she acted.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • LADYR

      I AGREE 100 %

      August 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sarahmv

    I'm not really sure why it's necessary to show pictures of the room where to children were murdered. So sad....

    August 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Marti

    My sympathy lies only with the two babies, and I hope that everyone who is sticking up for the mother realizes that even at that young age, children are aware of what's going on. Her oldest boy struggled to live as she stared in his face and I remember the victims of another monster, the little Smith boys, were found holding hands with each other. Think of them when you defend her. Times are hard for everyone and we all have crap to deal with. She made her own choices in life, too bad her kids didn't get the same consideration from her.

    August 20, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rivirivi

    Of course religions are all full of lies and manipulation for the believers. Let's not forget though that the believers are just people mostly good who do good deeds just because they are good people, who are searching for the comfort of a higher power. The greedy lying leaders of all religions are the ones to blame for all the separatistic confusion all over the planet. Kind people just keep doing kind things no matter what their religion is. THe whole world should renounce all the religions, toss out their leaders and just continue to feel love for a higher power, call it what ever name you want – instead of hating the other group who uses a different name for it. Maybe then all humans would hopefully stop being so separatistic and learn that we all belong to the limitlessness of it all regardless. Obviously this woman had mental issues but she also chose to become heartless and kill her own defenseless babies. She will pay the consequences for her actions in this realm by human laws and then in the thereafter also. Action and reaction does not stop it just goes on until balance is restored.

    August 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Georgiy

    The mom is a victim of poverty in the US

    August 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • LADYR

      AND...THAT IS NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON FOR WHAT SHE DID...THIER ARE ALOT OF POOR PEOPLE IN THE USA.
      THIER NOT KILLING THIER KIDS. sHE COULD OF TOOK THOSE KIDS TO THE POLICE STATION, LEFT THEM ON SOME ONES DOOR STEPS, CHILD WELFARE DEPT.

      August 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. North Carolina Mom

    I'm not a fan of the dealth penalty usually, but in cases like this I think this woman does not deserve to live. I don't care if you were treated badly but your parents, abused, or what problems you had growing up or as an adultetc. Killing your own children is the ultimate crime and she does not deserve a second child. She shouldn't have been allowed to procreate...but I guess anyone can spread their legs and biologically bear children.

    August 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. steppinghigh

    @ kingsokings sorry to bust your bubble, but some of us have college degrees, and masters!!!! now run and tell that!!!
    my heart goes out to the babies and to the family, may God be with them especially at this time. To everyone with a heart and a positive vibe please keep them in your prayers. God Bless.

    August 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. steppinghigh

    @ durr you're the stupid 1

    August 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jonny

    Good thing the anti-abortion nutjobs kept this woman from getting her abortions. These self-righteous wackos probably went home from their protest thinking they "saved a baby". This is the result of your efforts, you morons.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Allena Ross

    This is such a waste to this whole family, but most important the remaining daughter/sister. My prayers go out to her and the grandmother. What drove this mother to the point where she felt she had no other option then to kill her sons. I feel she needs help, but I believe that she should remain in prison forthe rest of her life. She will one day meet her maker and stand before him on judgement day. Please let's pray and support her daughter through this terrible tradegy.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Father of three

    Punishment...Life in prison.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
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