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

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

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.

Power restored after large outage in Preble Co.

Published: Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 12:46 AM
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 1:15 AM

Power restored after large outage in Preble Co.

UPDATE @ 1:15 a.m.

Power has been restored to nearly 1,700 DP&L customers in Preble County following an outage Monday morning, according to an online DP&L outage map. 

A call to DP&L has not been returned, and the cause of the outage remains unknown. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 


Nearly 1,700 Dayton Power and Light customers are reported without power in Preble County early Monday morning, according to an online outage map. 

Dispatchers for the Preble County Sheriff’s Office said they do not have any units on calls that might be related to the outage. 

A call to a DP&L spokesperson has not been immediately returned. 

We’ll update this page as new information becomes available. 

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DeMarcus Cousins reportedly traded to Pelicans in blockbuster deal

Published: Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 12:59 AM
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 12:59 AM

            DeMarcus Cousins reportedly traded to Pelicans in blockbuster deal

The Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield and at least one first-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:

>> Read more trending news

Cousins is arguably one of the top big men in the NBA today, and pairing him with Anthony Davis and standout guard Jrue Holiday makes a serious trio in New Orleans.

The move to trade Cousins comes on the heels of the Kings making public proclamations to keep the disgruntled center.

Here’s what Yahoo! reported led to eventually trading the center:

“Two incidents in particular – an expletive-laced remark Cousins made about Golden State after Sacramento’s overtime win over the Warriors on Feb. 6 and the astonishing 17th technical foul this season, and resulting one-game suspension, against New Orleans on Feb. 12 – have caused Ranadive to have serious concerns about tethering the franchise to Cousins long term.”

Whether Cousins remains in New Orleans following next season, the last on his current contract, remains to be seen.

Subject of Dayton SWAT standoff wanted for stealing weapons from Warren Co. home

Published: Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 12:19 AM
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 1:30 AM

UPDATE @ 1:30 a.m. 

The Dayton police SWAT command truck, and at least one armored truck are now on scene of a standoff on Beckman Street in Dayton. 

Earlier, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said the incident stemmed from a home burglary on Sunday where a man allegedly stole weapons. 

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

UPDATE @ 12:55 a.m. 

The suspect refusing to come out of a home on Beckman Street in Dayton is wanted for stealing weapons from a home in Warren County, according to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. 

Deputies said the suspect, only identified as a man, is wanted in a home burglary where he allegedly stole weapons from a home on Sunday night, but additional details on where the incident occurred in Warren County were not immediately available. 

Dayton police continue to surround the house and are demanding the man to exit, but have not officially requested SWAT to respond to the house. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 


We’re following reports of police activity reported at a home on Beckman Street in Dayton. 

According to dispatch records, Dayton police were asked to assist a Warren County jurisdiction in locating someone around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. 

Our crew on the scene reports police are using a bull horn and are demanding the occupants of the home to come out. 

Dispatchers said an official request for SWAT to respond has not been made. 

We’re working to learn more about the incident, and we’ll update this page when new information becomes available. 

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2nd victim dies after fiery I-675 crash in Beavercreek

Published: Saturday, February 18, 2017 @ 4:20 PM
Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 @ 11:00 PM

UPDATE @ 11 p.m. (Feb. 19)

We just learned tonight that the passenger who was critically wounded Saturday in the fiery crash on Interstate 675 also has died.

The driver died at the scene, and the passenger passed away at Kettering Medical Center, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed.

Beavercreek police are expected to release the men’s identities and information about what led to the crash Monday morning.

UPDATE @ 8:45 p.m. (Feb. 19)

Beavercreek police have not released the identity of a man killed in a fiery crash Saturday afternoon on Interstate 675, pending notification of family who are out of town, a sergeant said tonight.

A passenger remains in critical condition at Kettering Medical Center. More information is expected to be released Monday morning.

UPDATE @ 8:10 p.m.

All lanes of northbound Interstate 675 are back open following a fiery crash. The highway was closed for about four hours near the Col. Glenn Highway exit for a single-vehicle crash.

UPDATE @ 6:15 p.m.

The Greene County Coroner’s Office is on scene of a fiery crash this evening that has shut down northbound Interstate 675 near the Col. Glenn Highway exit in Beavercreek.

Officials have not confirmed a fatality. However, our crew on scene said it appears there is a body covered by a white sheet in the median.

UPDATE @ 5:25 p.m.

All northbound traffic on Interstate 675 is being diverted onto Col. Glenn Highway after a fiery crash just past the exit.

All lanes are blocked after Beavercreek firefighters extinguished flames that erupted from a vehicle that reportedly rolled over during the crash.

The left lane on the southbound side also is blocked.

Bill Wabler of Beavercreek didn’t see the fiery crash, but moments before the crash he called 911 to report a dangerous driver.

Wabler said he was traveling north on I-675 to return home when he saw a speeding vehicle come up behind him and pass him on the right at the 15 mile marker.

“The guy was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed,” which Wabler said he estimated was at least 80 mph and possibly approaching 100 mph. Wabler said he was calling 911 to alert law enforcement about that driver, when he saw brake lights ahead and traffic slowed to a crawl. By the time he reached the 17 mile marker, he saw the same vehicle crashed in the median, he said.


Interstate 675 North is shut down near the Col. Glenn Highway exit after a reported single-vehicle crash.

Beavercreek police and emergency vehicle responded to the crash at approximately 4 p.m.

We’re headed to the scene to find out more.

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