Dayton mom who police say shot her children had volatile relationships

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 7:12 PM


            A makeshift memorial Friday for two children shot in their Dayton home included balloons and stuffed animals. STAFF
A makeshift memorial Friday for two children shot in their Dayton home included balloons and stuffed animals. STAFF

The 30-year-old Dayton woman suspected of shooting her two young children in the head on Thursday was formally charged Friday with two counts of attempted aggravated murder and four counts of felonious assault, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Claudena Helton’s children, 8-year-old Khmorra and 6-year-old Kaiden, remained in critical condition at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Helton has had a history of volatile relationships and showed signs of mental illness at the crime scene and afterwards, according to police and court records and officials.

RELATED: Dayton chief after 2 kids shot in head: ‘This is one of the toughest’

Mental illness likely is a factor in the incident, said Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl.

He said the assessment is based solely on the behavior and statements from the mother at the scene of the shooting and afterward.

Helton faced child abuse allegations in 2014. Montgomery County Children Services has an open and active case involving Helton, and officials said they were working with the family, though would not say more about the case.

“Montgomery County’s Children Services Division is truly disturbed by the unimaginable tragedy that occurred,” said Kevin Lavoie, spokesman for the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this entire family, and very clearly the young children who were the victims of this violent act.”

MORE: Mom had faced earlier child endangering allegations

Residents in the neighborhood Friday were trying to come to terms with the shootings.

“I just decided to pay my respects and hopefully they come through,” said Alisha Linton, who was placing flowers and toys near the home at 3821 Lori Sue Ave. “I have a 3-year-old, and it’s just heartbreaking to hear a parent, a mother, injure their child.”

Stephanie Fontenot, who lives nearby, said: “I don’t know what could have been going through her mind. I don’t know,” she said. “Only thing I can say to everybody is when somebody comes to you and talks to you, always have an open ear, because you never know what a person is going through.”

Lavoie urged citizens to contact authorities if children show signs of abuse or neglect or seem withdrawn.

He also encouraged citizens to contact children services if an adult seems to need parenting assistance or intervention. Citizens can report suspected abuse or neglect to 937-224-KIDS.

FIRST REPORT: Mother shoots 2 of her children, police say

All service providers, if they have concerns about the safety of a minor, are required to report it to the local public children services agency, said Jon Keeling, spokesman with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

When abuse or neglect concerns are reported, county agencies conduct assessments that determine if a caregiver needs to be evaluated for mental illness and whether that can affects ability to care for a child, Keeling said.

A search of court and police records revealed Claudena Helton was involved in a series of incidents that put her in contact with local police.

PHOTOS: Police respond to scene, neighbors react

In July 2006, Trotwood police responded to a call of a drive-by shooting on Chaplen Drive and spoke with Sheila Helton, Claudena Helton’s mother.

Sheila Helton told police she heard three gunshots fired in front of her home and that the father of Claudena Helton’s child was likely responsible, a police report states. A bullet damaged a car belonging to Claudena Helton’s new boyfriend.

Claudena Helton told police her child’s father, whom she broke up with four months earlier, threatened to shoot her boyfriend’s car and her home.

Later, Claudena Helton was charged with domestic violence, but pleaded to lesser charges of disorderly conduct, according to court records. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with all 30 days suspended.

The following May, Trotwood police were called to the 100 block of Fieldstone Court on a report of an assault.

Claudena Helton told police her an ex-boyfriend became upset while at a party at her place and pushed her up against the wall and took her car keys, the report states.

Claudena Helton, who at the time worked as a home health aide, said her ex took her car without permission.

Authorities filed misdemeanor charges against the suspect for driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent and assault. Both charges were later dismissed.

Three years later, on May 23, 2010, Trotwood police responded to a call from a friend of Claudena Helton’s who was worried about her safety.

The friend received a text from Claudena Helton instructing her to call the police. Claudena Helton’s message said she feared her boyfriend would hurt her.

The day before, the live-in boyfriend, Stephen Fletcher, walked around the apartment complex waving what looked like a gun yelling, “if anyone called the police, he was going to shoot them,” according to the friend’s statement to police.

The friend called police.

Claudena Helton told police Fletcher had hit her in the face after earlier arguing at a family party. She told police he choked her until she nearly fainted.

“He pushed me in the room and continued to threaten me with his weapon,” Claudena Helton’s statement reads.

He took her to the hospital but threatened to kill her if she explained how she got her injuries, according to Claudena Helton’s statement to police. Claudena Helton said she texted her friend while her boyfriend was asleep, fearing he had a gun.

Fletcher was charged with misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing and domestic violence. He was found guilty one one of the counts and sentenced to 123 days in jail.

Police found an unloaded BB gun in the home when it was searched. Claudena Helton said she thought it was real.

The report says that Claudena Helton was pregnant and Fletcher is presumed to be the father. Claudena Helton had at least two children at the time.

911 call: Woman’s shooting death was accidental

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 3:22 AM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 9:28 PM

Woman's death investigated as homicide

UPDATE @9:30 p.m.

In a 911 call, a caller stated a gun accidentally went off, and a woman had been hit.

“We were trying to unload this gun, and it went off, and it hit her in the shoulder,” the 911 caller states.

A dispatcher asked the caller if it was an accident, and the 911 caller said it was.

>> TRENDING: Child survives double fatal crash in Greene County; victims identified 

The victim, Eileen Jones, 30, was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The coroner’s office said an official ruling has not been made, but a Dayton police report lists the dead as a felony homicide/murder investigation.

We are working to learn if a suspect has been taken into custody. 

This story will be updated as we learn more.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m.

The death of a 30-year-old Dayton woman is a homicide, Dayton police said.

The shooting was reported around 1 a.m. in the 600 block of West Fairview Avenue.

The victim, who was pronounced dead at Miami Valley Hospital, has been identified as Eileen Jones.

There is no information about a suspect or whether any arrests have been made.

FIRST REPORT

There has been a reported shooting in the 600 block of West Fairview Avenue, per initial reports.

Crews were dispatched to the incident  just before 3 a.m. on Sunday.

We have a crew on the way to the scene and are working to learn more details. 

Local county now letting women inmates pick up trash on side of road

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 2:58 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 2:58 PM

Clark County female jail inmates now help clean trash from county roadways.

Women inmates at the Clark County Jail are being given the opportunity to pick up trash on the side of the road.

Previously, only men inmates were allowed to pick up trash while women inmates earned credit on their jail time by working in the laundry.

Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett said gender roles are outdated and now the women inmates can labor on the side of the road, too.

MORE: Clark County sheriff’s ‘ghost’ unit targets drugs

“We are picking up trash on the side of the highway to make Clark County look better,” inmate Jennifer Scott said. “We do I-70, Route 4 and sometimes when the weather is to0 bad we will go to the dog shelter and help out.”

Scott is a non-violent criminal who was sentenced to jail after a probation violation. She said getting out of the jail for a few hours can be a big morale booster.

“I think its a great opportunity for some of the girls,” she said. “I think it could be a way for women to change their lifestyle.”

EXTRA: Drug dealers former items sold as sheriff’s auction

Scott said she has picked up a lot of beer cans and bottles on the side of the road and more clothes than she expected. The garbage on the side of the road is bad for the environment, Scott said, and an eye-sore for the county. Her experience picking up trash will lead to her being more thoughtful, she said.

“It is going to make me think twice before I throw stuff out my window,” she said.

READ: Clark County sheriff giving away dozens of bikes for free

Overall, Scott said the goal is to get out as soon as possible and be a better person after the stay in jail.

“When we walk out of here we will change our lives and be productive members of society,” she said.

Driver ‘jerked the doors out’ of Estridge Market in Dayton

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 7:56 PM



Steph Muhlenkamp / Contributed
(Steph Muhlenkamp / Contributed)

The driver of a pickup truck “jerked the doors out” Sunday morning to the entrance of the Estridge Market, but the grocer was as busy as ever.

“We’ve always had good customers,” Estridge Market owner Stan Angel said.

A tarp covers the doorway to the business at 4240 Hoover Ave., and Angel said he hopes to get new doors installed as quickly as possible.

The doors were pulled off the frames around 6 a.m., according to a Dayton police report. 

>> Man in mask shows gun, robs local auto title loan business

A witness reported a driver backed up his pickup truck to the front doors, The suspect, wearing a sweatshirt with the hood up covering his face, got out of the truck for about a minute before getting back in.

It was then the suspect apparently attached a chain that secures the doors from would-be thieves to the back of his truck, according to the report.

The suspect then drove off, pulling the doors off the frame. One door remained in front of the store, and a second was found at the intersection of Hoover Avenue and Verona Road.

>> Young child survives crash that kills two family members

The doors were wide open, but nothing was found missing, the report stated.

Damage to the front of the store is nothing new, Angel said.

 “Someone drove through them,” Angel said of the doors, “we’ve had the glass broken a couple times this year.”

He’s not hopeful the suspect will be caught. “It’s sad the world we live in.”

>> East Dayton neighborhood copes with loss of its only grocery store

This market sustained damage that can be repaired, but last month another local market, Mor For Less on East Third Street, was destroyed by a massive fire. The owner said he hopes to rebuild.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Suspect faces murder charge after man found dead in Dayton home

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 1:31 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 2:40 PM

Initial reports indicate medics and police were dispatched to a house in the 1100 block of Grafton Avenue on a report of a person down with an unknown problem.

UPDATE @ 2:40 p.m. (Dec. 10)

A 23-year-old Dayton man will be arraigned Monday following his arrest in the death of a Dayton man found shot to death in the upstairs of a Dayton house.

Markale Thomas was arrested Friday night and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of murder, a Dayton police report and jail records show.

Markale Thomas(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

He is accused of fatally shooting 42-year-old Sayed Villanueva, who was found around 12:45 p.m. Friday by family members at the home in the 1100 block of Grafton Avenue.

UPDATE @ 9:10 a.m  (Dec. 10)

The man found shot to death in the upstairs of a Grafton Avenue home Friday afternoon has been identified as Sayed Villanueva, 42, of Dayton.

The preliminary cause and manner of his death is not available at this time. An autopsy is scheduled for today, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office. 

UPDATE @ 4:09 p.m.:

Multiple people are being detained and questioned after a man was found shot to death in the upstairs of a Grafton Avenue home Friday.

The man was discovered by family members in the house in the 1100 block of Grafton shortly before 1 p.m.

The man’s identity has not been released.

EARLIER

A man has been found shot dead inside a home on Grafton Avenue in Dayton, according to regional dispatch traffic between officers. 

We’re working to confirm these reports and learn more on the status of the investigation.

An investigator from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has arrived at the scene.  

TRENDING: Police investigating body found in Great Miami River

Additional details have not been released from officers on scene and dispatchers. 

>>Latest Local News

Our crew remains on the scene and we’ll update this page as we learn more.