The voice on the other end of the line might barely be listened to.
” I require aid,” murmured the 911 customer.
” Hey there?” asked the emergency dispatcher.
” I need aid,” the lady repeated.
” OK, where are you found?” asked the emergency dispatcher.
The caller’s reaction was too smothered to construct out.
” I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t hear you,” the 911 driver stated.
” I understand,” whispered the woman.
The call can be found in to Grand Rapids police dispatch at 10:25 a.m. Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
” 553 Sheldon Opportunity SE … Please hurry currently,” the lady begged, her whisper a little louder and also a lot more immediate now.
” 553 Sheldon. OK. Can you tell me what’s taking place there?” asked the 911 driver.
” Can you just hurry up, please,” the customer said. “I’m fittin’ to pass away … He’s tryin’ to eliminate me. He already eliminated my auntie. Can you hurry, please?”
” Okay, ma’am. I’ll begin the authorities by doing this. Can you tell me what your name is?” asked the dispatcher.
” Keyona,” she murmured, secs prior to the call disconnected.
March 13 will note the three-year anniversary of a terrible double murder at 553 Sheldon Avenue SE in Grand Rapids.
WHERE IS DERRELL BROWN?
In the days after the murders, the Grand Rapids Cops Division released a transcript of Keyona Griffin‘s desperate 911 telephone call hrs before the murders, however GRPD refuted access to the call’s actual audio.
In October 2021, Target 8 detectives attempted once again. We made use of the Flexibility of Details Act to obtain the 911 sound and the authorities report in an effort to highlight the across the country manhunt for the killer that is entering its 4th year.
In July 2021, united state Marshals “increased” search initiatives by proclaiming Derrell Devil Brown, 47, one of the nation’s 15 most desired crooks.
Yet Brown still walks cost-free, likely hiding in ordinary sight.
” He looks extremely plain and also could essentially be standing behind you in a grocery store check out lane,” said Bruce Nordin, acting united state marshal of the District of Western Michigan.
The government agency believes Brown, currently 48, got away the state after the murders and might be getting help from family members or partners. He grew up and also graduated senior high school in Grand Rapids, but he additionally has family members in Ohio, Wisconsin, Arizona and also Georgia.
There’s presently a $25,000 incentive for information resulting in his apprehension.
AUTHORITIES RESPOND BUT THINK NOBODY’S RESIDENCE
Seven mins and also 41 seconds after Keyona Griffin’s call detached, three law enforcement officers arrived at 553 Sheldon SE, a mile south of Grand Rapids’ dynamic midtown.
The officers that responded that early morning had no chance of recognizing their activities over the following three minutes would certainly quickly end up being the target of extreme examination.
Among the policemans knocked on the front door, three times with his hand as well as when with the door knocker. No action. He agitated the doorknob. Secured.
The policeman asked dispatchers to attempt to get the woman back on the line, however dispatch claimed the caller did not grab.
An additional officer, knocking on a side door, located it, also, was secured.
” You can see it looks like a little dining-room or something in there. It’s vacant,” stated the policeman, peering through a home window.
A 3rd officer glanced around the rear of your home.
” There’s nothing in the back right here,” she reported.
3 mins and 42 seconds after they got here, the officers left the scene having actually not made contact with any person.
” THERE’S BLOOD ANYWHERE”
The 2nd 911 phone call came two hours and 18 mins later.
” Pertain to 553 Sheldon … There’s blood everywhere, as well as my sibling’s not moving,” pleaded Sanford Cummings II.
He had found his cherished, sparkling and fiercely loyal sibling existing dead on the floor of an upstairs bed room.
Keyona Griffin had actually transformed 25 years of ages simply 5 days previously.
Someone had fired her four times, including once in the face.
” 553 Sheldon SE. It’s a yellow home. Please rush. My sister’s not moving,” Cummings wept.
” Oh, my Lord, please. Keyona, please get up. Please,” he wailed.
A recording of part of the 911 telephone call from Griffin’s brother.
Seven mins later, Grand Rapids authorities returned to 553 Sheldon for the second time that day.
In one more upstairs bed room, police officers uncovered a 2nd body.
Keyona Griffin had actually stated they would.
” He currently eliminated my auntie,” she had actually whispered 2 and also a half hrs earlier.
Police discovered Keyona’s aunt, Cherletta Baber-Bey, pushing her bed under a blanket. It showed up the killer had actually fired the 47-year-old in the back of the head as she lay viewing an iPad, propped up on a cushion close to her. The tablet was still playing when police found her, earbuds still lodged in her ears.
A criminal offense scene image of proof in the murders of Cherletta Baber-Bey and Keyona Griffin on March 13, 2019.
Two of the home’s 4 citizens passed away that day.
Jacqueline Baber-Bey, that had the residence, had gone to work because 8 a.m
. The fourth resident was unaccounted for. Cherletta Baber-Bey’s boyfriend was missing out on.
ORANGE NIKE SHOEBOX HELD CRITICAL CLUE
The guy had stayed in the home for at least two years by then, however the family members knew him only as “Jay.”.
Family members informed cops that Cherletta Baber-Bey, whom they called wonderful, relying on and also supporting, had actually never ever been social. “Jay” was her initial real boyfriend and the couple kept to themselves, spending most of their time in their room.
” What we were gathering was that the majority of did not care (for) ‘Jay’ and did not talk with him often,” GRPD Detective Kelli Braate wrote in her record.
” We were told Jay did not work, he did not make use of Facebook as for they recognized, they did not know any one of his family members, and they did not have a contact number for him,” composed Braate, noting the household recognized only that “Jay” had gone to jail for failing to pay youngster assistance.
It ended up being among “Jay’s” jobs in lockup that aided expose his real identity.
” While browsing Cherletta’s closet, I observed an orange Nike shoebox on the upper most shelf in the storage room,” Investigative Amanda Johnson composed.
” As I began to go through the products (in package), I found some old ‘jail mail’ letters to Cherletta from a man called Derrell Brown. I check out a few of the letters as well as in one of them Derrell tells Cherletta that his name is Derrell, however he goes by ‘Jay’ and all of the letters were authorized ‘Jay,'” Johnson proceeded.
Investigators acquired a mug shot of Derrell Brown as well as a next-door neighbor was amongst those who confirmed Derrell Brown was, without a doubt, the man that called himself “Jay.”.
A STOLEN WEAPON.
While searching an alley northwest of 553 Sheldon hours after the murders, an investigator captain detected a hastily thrown box of ammunition.
” There on the ground alongside the really ‘fresh’ box of ammunition was a white plastic bag, with what seemed the muzzle of a weapon protruding and also noticeable,” Capt. Kristin Rogers wrote in her follow-up record.
According to another detective’s narrative, tests later matched the 9 mm Hi-Point gun to housings found at the criminal offense scene.
Detectives also reported that officers browsing Cherletta Baber-Bey’s room discovered an empty Hi-Point weapon box in a dresser that contained guys’s garments. Inside the cardboard box, they said, cops found the weapon’s identification number as well as acquisition license, that included the name of the gun’s buyer– a female.
A criminal offense scene image of proof in the murders of Cherletta Baber-Bey as well as Keyona Griffin on March 13, 2019.
When policemans ran the name and also serial number, they came up with 2 useful documents. The lady listed as the weapon’s buyer had reported it stolen in July 2017. Additionally, police discovered that same woman had filed a complaint in 2018 about harassing texts she ‘d been receiving.
” In that report, (she) complains that her ex-boyfriend, known as ‘Jay’ had been harassing her by cell phone,” GRPD Detective Sgt. John Purlee wrote.
Not coincidentally, according to the police report, the woman’s gun was stolen around the same time she dated “Jay.”.
” This information provides a connection of Derrell Demon Brown to the Hi-Point pistol found at the scene,” Purlee concluded in his report.
The woman had reported that “Jay” had been very “commanding” during their relationship.
” SHE COULD HAVE BEEN TIED UP IN THERE”.
The victims’ family, speaking to Target 8 in 2020, called out GRPD for its response to Keyona’s initial 911 call.
” You got someone calling you saying, ‘Someone’s trying to kill me,’ you won’t knock the door down?” questioned Onyah Griffin, Keyona’s mom and Cherletta’s sister.
Cherletta Baber-Bey’s brother told Target 8 police had failed his sister.
” She could have been tied up in there,” said Sanford Cummings Sr
. GRPD defended the officers’ actions that day, as did Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker.
” It was quiet. The doors were locked,” Becker explained, noting dispatchers and police respond to voluminous calls daily.
” There was no blood. It’s a shut-up house. The house is a very protected– Fourth Amendment. You’ve got to have some pretty good reason to go in. There has to be something that drives them more than just a phone call because there’s people out there who prank call to get people, unfortunately,” Becker said.
The victims’ family told Target 8 it wonders if police would have spent more time trying to reach residents if the 911 call had come from a richer, whiter zip code.
” I know people will say, ‘Oh, you want to pull the race card,’ and I don’t know their (the officers’) motives,” Onyah Griffin said. “It could have been because of the color of her skin. It could have because of the geographic location of where it happened.”.
” That is patently not true,” GRPD Sgt. John Wittkowski wrote in a recent email exchange with Target 8.
” We take and answer every call for service based upon the information that is provided to us, and we investigate those calls based upon the facts in hand and the follow-up that entails,” he continued. “We simply can not make entry into a house, short of a warrant, without cause. The officers did not see or hear, nor did they have any additional information, that would suggest exigent circumstances existed for them to make entry into the home.”.
” HE’S BEEN ABLE TO JUST COMPLETELY DISAPPEAR”.
The victims’ relatives said police essentially gave Derrell Demon Brown a three-hour head start in his quest to evade capture.
According to the police report, in the days after the murders, officers canvassed the area for surveillance cameras and found multiple videos showing Brown’s path of travel that afternoon.
Even as detectives scoured 553 Sheldon for evidence, cameras subsequently captured Brown on foot a mile north of the crime scene two hours after the bodies had been discovered.
Among his post-murder stops was the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum on Sheldon at Fulton Street. The museum’s internal cameras showed Brown entering the building at 3:24 p.m. the day of the murders and exiting 12 minutes later at 3:36 p.m
. An employee told Target 8 Brown had told the front desk he knew someone inside the building. Museum staff reportedly made it clear to Brown that he could not wander the museum.
Around 20 minutes after the Children’s Museum stop, a business’s surveillance camera captured Brown walking in the area of Leonard Street and Turner Avenue NW. Police later discovered one of Brown’s former girlfriends had dropped him off in that neighborhood.
Soon after, it seems Derrell Demon Brown vanished.
” The unusual part about it is how he’s been able to just completely disappear,” Becker, the county prosecutor, told Target 8. “Usually we have something, and the police are very good at tracking (suspects) down, especially in homicide cases … especially in double homicide cases.”.
Target 8 tried to contact Brown’s family in Grand Rapids. When we knocked on the door of the family home, a woman told us, “get your (expletive) away from my house.”.
Becker told Target 8 Brown has long lived off the grid, which makes finding him more difficult.
” People have social media, they have phones, they have things that you can connect, that you can trace,” Becker explained. “But even when Brown was here, he didn’t have a job. As far as we know, he didn’t have friends. So there were no phones, no social media.”.
DEADLY FIRE HAD HEARTBREAKING CAUSE.
Three years after the double murder, the alleged killer is not the only thing missing from the 500 block of Sheldon Avenue SE.
The home at 553 Sheldon is gone too.
The fire was fueled by the heartbreak that had come before.
” 9:02 a.m., the call came in,” Capt. Paul Mason of the Grand Rapids Fire Department recalled. “The first arriving crew found a heavy volume of fire on the front of the house. There was no one standing out front, yet there were cars in the driveway. So it’s a bad sign right from the start.”.
Firefighters found Jacqueline Baber-Bey, 65, and her grandson, Emareyon Cummings, 5, in a second-floor bedroom at the back of the house. Both died of smoke inhalation.
” They tried to get out but were unable to and were sheltering in that bedroom,” Mason explained.
” It affected us all. Had a big impact on us,” he added. “It’s just so sad … The incredible loss on top of the previous tragedy. That’s just the great sorrow of this whole event, and our hearts just go out to the family. It’s just terrible.”.
Mason said the official cause of the fire was “unintentional.”.
” The candles were in an enclosed front porch,” he said. “The investigators conclude they were left burning and that’s what caused the fire.”.
The candles had been lit for a vigil held the night before to honor Cherletta Baber-Bey and Keyona Griffin.