McKnight, son may have been killed in basement, police say

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 6:44 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:05 PM

            Dayton man talks about recent homicide

As family and friends prepare to pay their respects to Nichelle McKnight at her funeral with military honors today, they hope that her 4-year-old son Zaden will be found alive.

But court documents first obtained by the Dayton Daily News indicate the boy may have suffered a similar fate as his 25-year-old mother, who police said was murdered late last month.

A police affidavit states, “During the investigation of these missing persons, it was found that the two may have been killed in the basement of 23 Birchwood Ave.” in Dayton.

Police found blood and the shoes McKnight was wearing when she was reported missing in the home’s basement, along with her driver’s license, bank cards, and the Social Security cards for both McKnight and Zaden, according to the affidavit.

The home on Birchwood is the residence of Tonisha Harris, 29, who was indicted Tuesday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on charges related to McKnight’s disappearance. The charges include six counts of receiving stolen property and one count each of theft by deception and misuse of a credit card, all fifth-degree felonies.

Harris pleaded not guilty to the charges and even had her bond lowered from $250,000 to $10,000, despite the chance she may face other charges related to McKnight’s case. Judge Dennis Langer ruled that DNA can be collected from Harris and that, if she does make bond, she must be placed on electronic monitoring.

Despite the evidence collected, Harris is not facing charges related to McKnight’s death. Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Greg Flannagan said the McKnight homicide is an open investigation, and authorities are still processing what was found in her home. That includes seeing if Harris’ blood matches the evidence that was found in her basement.

“As far as the homicide goes, certainly we have to see where that investigation goes,” Flannagan said.

McKnight reportedly discovered the thefts days before she disappeared on March 25. Her body was found April 11 near the banks of the Stillwater River.

According to a Dayton police incident report, Harris allegedly stole money from McKnight’s Chase bank account, and made purchases at area Walmarts using McKnight’s credit card. In total she allegedly stole nearly $3,000. The thefts were reportedly committed at the instruction of McKnight’s boyfriend, 26-year-old Antwan Anderson, whom police said was also in a relationship with Harris.

McKnight, an Air Force reservist, is having all her funeral expenses paid for by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars. Air Force officials said McKnight was assigned to the 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from March 21, 2008 until March 16 this year, less than two weeks before she disappeared. McKnight received the Air Force commendation medal and was never deployed.

Funeral services for McKnight are scheduled for 1 p.m. today at Greater Love Christian Church, 2345 Lakeview Ave.

“The men and women of the 445th Airlift Wing are deeply saddened by the passing of Senior Airman Nichelle McKnight, a valuable member and contributor to the 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron’s mission,” said Col. Jeffrey J. McGalliard, 445th Airlift Wing commander. “Our thoughts and prayers are extended to her family and friends.”

Robert Critell, past VFW District 3 commander, said members have volunteered to greet people and be pall bearers, present flags, have a bugler and provide a firing squad salute, if necessary. “We’re going to make sure that that veteran get what she deserves,” Critell said. “From my understanding, (the family) were just completely overwhelmed… . If they find her child is deceased, we’re prepared to take care of that, too.”

McKnight disappeared March 25, shortly after she reportedly confronted Anderson about the thefts. He was Dayton police’s No. 1 suspect in the disappearance and McKnight and her son. However, Anderson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a police shootout after a pursuit with Dayton officers on April 7.

Harris was arrested that same night after police executed several search warrants throughout the region as part of their investigation in the McKnight case. Copies of the search warrants indicating what officers found inside the Birchwood Avenue home have been sealed.

Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl declined an interview request, but said that the affidavit “speaks for itself.”

McKnight wasn’t reported missing until March 29, and preliminary autopsy results from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office indicate she likely died March 27 of two gunshot wounds to the head. Her death has been ruled a homicide. Her son is also presumed dead, but his body has not been located. Police continue to search for him, and have asked agencies south along the Stillwater River to be on the lookout for his remains.

In a development Thursday night, an official with Ohio Task Force 1 said the Dayton Police Department has contacted the organization about helping in the search for Zaden.

Evan Schuman, a representative of the organization, said that while the task force has not committed any of its resources, he has put the department in touch with a contact that can get the department dogs that are used to detect human remains. That contact is associated with the task force, Schuman said, and has access to several of the specialized canines.

Schuman shared the new information in an interview about the task force’s return to the Miami Valley from helping in the search for victims from the recent mudslides in Washington state.

Police officials said they believe Harris has information on McKnight’s disappearance, but has not cooperated with investigators. Her criminal record reveals Harris was repeatedly given intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) and probation. She received ILC for improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property in a 2006 case and for theft in 2007.

Harris received intervention for another 2007 forgery count, which she unsuccessfully tried to get sealed. She also was placed on community control in a 2010 forgery case. Harris declined an interview request from the Dayton Daily News.

Daquann Norman, a neighbor of Harris’ who said he and his girlfriend are moving because of concerns about murders being committed down the street, said: “It’s shocking that they can’t find that little boy and they found her dead. We don’t really want to think of bad results for the little boy. Hopefully he’s out there safe and somebody will bring him home to his family.”

Anyone with information on the case can call police using their anonymous tip line at (937) 222-7867.

Sidney McDonald’s robbery suspect arrested

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 3:33 AM

Lance Shewalter

 SIDNEY — A man suspected of robbing the McDonald’s on Michigan Street was taken into custody by police on Thursday. 

Lance C. Shewalter, 32, is being held at the Shelby County Jail.

Sidney police were dispatched to the 2200 block of Michigan Street around 10:43 p.m. Thursday.

LOCAL: Miami Valley's Most Wanted

Shortly after, officers located Shewalter in the an area near where police say witnesses lost sight of him. 

Several items used in the robbery were located in the area, according to police. 

Shewalter has been charged with robbery and is being held at the Shelby County Jail. 

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Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 4:40 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 6:50 AM

Staff photo

Check this page for a full list of crashes, disabled vehicles, construction projects and other hazards impacting your commute.

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Sgt. Mark Bowron is updating conditions every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

RELATED: Find the lowest gas prices in your neighborhood with our Pump Patrol

Major Highway Incidents

  • No issues have been reported.

RELATED: Check for delays or cancellations before heading to the airport

Surface Street Incidents

  • On Grand Avenue near I-75 and Riverview Avenue in Dayton, police and medics were requested to check on two reported crashes in the area around 6:45 a.m. It was not immediately clear how many crashes are in the area. 

WEATHER: Dry today, storms tonight

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures 


  • I-75 south near North Main Street in Dayton, lane closure May 1st – 26th. Two southbound lanes will remain open.
  • I-75 south ramp to US 35 west will be closed from January 9th to September 30th to replace a bridge deck beam that was not included in the I-75 modernization project. The official detour is: I-75 south to the Edwin C. Moses turn around lane to I-75 north to US 35 west.
  • I-75 north ramp the US 35 east will be closed March 28th to September 23rd. ODOT lists the suggested detour as NB I-75 to US 35 west, to James H McGee Blvd, to US 35 east. 
  • I-70 between I-75 and SR 202, Nightly lane closures May 15th – June 6th between 6 pm and 6 am. Two lanes will be closed starting at 9 pm. 
  • I-70 between Airport Access Road and Taywood Road, Lane closures April 3rd - June 30th. Two lanes will remain open.
  • US 35 east Ramp to Perry Street, ramp closure April 1st – May 30th. The official detour is: US 35 east to Jefferson Street to South Patterson Blvd. to Stout Street to Perry Street.
  • Ludlow Street Ramp to westbound US 35 in Dayton, ramp closure May 12th – August 9th. The suggested ODOT detour is: Washington Street to US 35 west.
  • SR 49 south between Brookville-Salem Road and Pleasant Plain Road, Lane closures through May 31. One southbound lane will remain open.
  • Hoover Avenue between Gettysburg Avenue and Elmhurst Road in Dayton will be closed starting April 3 until early June for water line construction. The construction will also impact the intersection of Hoover and Gettysburg avenues and drivers should expect congestion and delays. Detours will be posted. 
  • Bridgewater Road between Taylorsville Road and US 40, bridge closure May 15TH – September 12th. The official detour is: Bridgewater Road to Taylorsville Road to Rip Rap Road to Little York Road to Brown School Road to US 40
  • The Webster Street bridge is closed as it is rebuilt. A detour will take drivers to Keowee Street to Monument Avenue. The project is scheduled to be completed in November of 2017 


  • SR 202 between Ross Road and US 40, road closure May 22nd through 31st. The official detour is: US 40 to I-75 to SR 571 to SR 202
  • Piqua-Troy Road between Statler Road and Eldean Roadbridge closure April 12th – October 12th. The official ODOT detour is: Piqua-Troy Road to West Peterson Road to CR 25A to Eldean Road to Piqua-Troy Road.
  • Statler Road between Cromes Drive and Free Road, road closure until June 15th. The official detour is: Cromes Drive/Looney Road to US 36 to Troy-Sidney Road to Statler Road. 


  • Gate 19B on National Road at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is closed until mid-June for a $1.3 million security upgrade. Drivers should expect delays around the base at the three gates remaining open, Gate 16B off Kaufman Avenue, Gate 1B off Springfield Street, and Gate 22B at I-675 and Col. Glenn Highway. Gate 22B will be inbound traffic only during the morning commute. 


  • I-70 east Ramp to I-675 north, ramp closure April 19th – October 31st. The official detour is: I-675 to SR 444 to I-675 north.
  • SR 565 between SR 29 and Houston Pike, Daily lane closures May 22nd through September 30th between 7 am and 5 pm. One lane will remain open in each direction.


  • SR 571 between US 36 and Jaysville-St. Johns Road, road closure May 25th through June 2nd. The official detour is: US 36 to US 127 to SR 49 to SR 721
  • US 36 between US 127 and SR 48, Lane closures April 24th – June 30th. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • SR 721 between US 36 and Covington-Gettysburg Road, bridge closure March 20th – June 3rd. The official detour is: US 36 to SR 48 to SR 718.
  • SR 121 between Arnold Street and Fairview Avenue, Daily lane closures April 24th – September 1st between 7 am and 5 pm. One lane will remain open in each direction.


  • US 36 between Berwick Drive and Dugan Road, road closure April 10th – July 10th. The suggested ODOT detour is: SR 814 to SR 296 to US 68.
  • US 36 between SR 814 and McMahill Road, lane closures May 22nd through September 30th between 7 am and 5 pm. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • SR 54 between SR 4 and Brigner Road, lane closures May 22nd through September 30th between 7 am and 5 pm. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • SR 55 between Elm Tree Road and Edgewood Avenue, lane closures May 22nd through September 30th between 7 am and 5 pm. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • SR 296 between SR 29 and SR 814Daily lane closures May 22nd through September 30th between 7 am and 5 pm. One lane will remain open in each direction.


  • Amsterdam Road between CR 25A (Sidney) and Heiland Kies Road, road closure May 15th– August 15th. The official detour from ODOT is: Amsterdam Road to CR 25A to SR 274 to Heiland Kies Road to Amsterdam Road

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Get a live look at highways on our traffic cameras here.

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 




Miami Valley Hospital to pilot stroke app

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 6:41 AM

Kelly Settle

DAYTON — Miami Valley Hospital will pilot a new smart device app designed to increase coordinated care for stroke victims and reduce the time it takes to reverse potential brain damage.

The hospital is the first in Southwest Ohio to pilot the device, according to a Miami Valley Hospital news release.  

Miami Valley Hospital has partnered with Dayton Fire Department, Riverside Fire Department and Jefferson Township Fire Department to pilot the app. Each jurisdiction’s squads were trained in April and are excited about the potential for patient care. 

“This app will speed up medics’ ability to gather patient information, and allow them to take pictures and relay information using voice-to-text,” said Lt. Jack Mix with the Dayton Fire Department. 

The app’s pilot will determine if Premier Health extends its use with other EMS squads and throughout its system. 

Pulsara, a cloud-based communication application, will place all members of the hospital’s stroke team on alert and keep them up-to-date with the case with one tap of the app by EMS crews. The instant coordination of care could buy more time for a stroke victim whose ability to be treated by clot-busting medication is limited to just hours after symptoms begin, and whose outcome is improved by more rapid treatment. 

“The most exciting thing is that everyone will be on the same page almost instantly as new information becomes available,” said Dr. John Terry, director of inpatient stroke care at Miami Valley Hospital. “The efficiency of stroke care can be affected by the time it takes to bring every member of the team up-to-date, and our ability to determine what type of care the patient can receive.” 

Now, EMS crews call in stroke cases to one contact who calls different members on the team. Each touch point takes time and involves verbally relaying information about the patient’s case.

Pulsara will enable the team to simultaneously consult and communicate vital information, according to the news release which notes research has shown the use of Pulsara results in a 46 percent improvement in door-to-needle time — the time it takes between a patient’s arrival at the emergency department and the team’s ability to administer treatment.  

“There are multiple physician and ancillary services involved in determining if the clot-dissolving drug is right for that particular patient and it has to be done rapidly in order to come to a conclusion in the time frame in which the drug will still be effective,” said Dr. Randy Marriott, the Premier Health EMS Center of Excellence medical director. 

Police: 2nd shooter fired shots outside Centerville apartment 

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 2:58 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 6:39 AM

Malik Perkins/Staff

UPDATE @ 6:40 a.m. 

Centerville police said a second shooter fired shots outside an apartment after a person was shot inside the building on Chase Drive. 

Investigators said at least eight shots were fired by a second person who was outside the apartment complex. Those shots were fired after one person sustained a gunshot wound inside the apartment. 

Police added they believe the second round of shots was fired by the second person who was attempting to shoot the suspect as he left the scene. 

Police said earlier one of the suspected shooters drove to the Centerville Police Department and turned himself in. Investigators did not say if the suspect in custody was the first or second shooter, nor if they had a suspect description of the second shooter. 

The condition of the victim was still not available. 

UPDATE @ 4:16 a.m.

Two men inside a Chase Drive apartment had a dispute that resulted in the shooting that left one man injured. 

“This is not a random thing,” said Centerville Police Department Public Information Officer John Davis. “This is two people who knew each other, so there’s no danger to the public.”

LOCAL: Read the latest local stories in the Miami Valley 

The shooting suspect was taken into custody after he drove to the police department and turned himself in. 

RELATED: Miami Valley’s Most Wanted

UPDATE @ 4:10 a.m. 

Centerville police confirm one person was shot inside an apartment on Chase Drive and has been transported to a local hospital. 

 MORE: Latest bookings in the Montgomery County Jail

Police said the condition of the victim was not immediately available. 

Investigators said the suspect drove himself to the Centerville police station and turned himself in to police. 

We’ll update this page with more information shortly. 


One person has reportedly been shot in an drive-by shooting on Chase Drive in Centerville Friday morning. 

Emergency crews were dispatched to the first block of Chase Drive around 2:50 a.m. on initial reports of a person shot. 

Police scanner traffic indicates the incident was a drive-by shooting. Initial reports indicate the possible shooter went to the Centerville police station and was taken into custody. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

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