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

Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ 11:54 AM
Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014 @ 11:05 PM
By: Mark Gokavi - Staff Writer

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.

Police searching for suspect in Target purse theft

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 1:46 AM
By: Breaking News Staff

            Police searching for suspect in Target purse theft
Police are looking for this man who they say can be seen on surveillance footage stealing a purse from an elderly woman at a Miami Twp. Target. (Contributed/Miami Twp. Police Department)

Miami Twp. police are asking the public to help find a man they say robbed an elderly woman in a Target parking lot Thursday.

In surveillance video from the store at 2300 Miamisburg Centerville Road, a man can be seen approaching the woman and grabbing her purse before running away.

The woman attempts to run after the man and after a few steps falls in the parking lot.

Police said the man appears to have numerous tattoos on his arms and legs and was last seen leaving the store in a gold and silver 2-door car.

Anyone recognizing the man in the video is asked to contact Detective Dan Wessling at the Miami Township Police Department at 937-531-4046.


Kanye West shares message on Twitter for Kim Kardashian’s birthday

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 1:43 AM
Published: Friday, October 21, 2016 @ 11:04 PM

            Kanye West shares message on Twitter for Kim Kardashian’s birthday
(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 4) (Kevin Mazur)

Kanye West took to Twitter on Friday to say happy birthday to his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who turns 36 today.

“Happy Birthday babe,” West wrote on Twitter with an adorable video of moments throughout Kim’s childhood.

The last time West tweeted was on Sept. 14.

A photo posted by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

The couple has laid low on social media since Kardashian West was held at gunpoint in Paris on Oct. 3.

NYC teacher uses CPR to save student’s life

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 1:33 AM
Published: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 12:33 AM
By: Bob D'Angelo - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            NYC teacher uses CPR to save student’s life

A teacher in New York City saved a student’s life Thursday when a sixth-grader had a seizure and stopped breathing.

>> Read more trending stories

Amy Spears, 44, a math teacher at Louis Armstrong Middle School in Queens, saw the girl collapse and begin convulsing outside of her classroom. The teen then stopped breathing.

“I started doing CPR immediately and called people to get help and call 911,” Spears told the New York Daily News. “Another teacher grabbed the machine.”

Spears, who has been a teacher for 21 years, gave the child one shock with a defibrillator before paramedics arrived.

“I never thought in a million years I would have to do this or want to do it,” Spears told the Daily News. “I’m so glad I was trained and I was able to hold it together enough to do what I did. Everyone worked together.”

Study: 2 diet drinks a day could double risk of diabetes

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 1:23 AM
Published: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 12:51 AM
By: Bob D'Angelo - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Study: 2 diet drinks a day could double risk of diabetes

Drinking two servings of carbonated soda — even the diet kind — could double the risk of diabetes, according to a Swedish study.

>> Read more trending stories

Research by the Karolinska Institute on 2,800 adults found that those who consumed at least two 6½ ounce servings of soft drinks daily were 2.4 times as likely to suffer from a form of type 2 diabetes.

Many sodas are sold in 12-ounce cans, meaning that one and a half cans would be enough to double the risk.

According to the study, people who drank a liter of soda saw their chances of suffering from diabetes increase tenfold.

The increased risks were the same regardless of whether the drinks were sugary or artificially sweetened, according to the findings published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

Researchers said the sugary drinks may have induced insulin resistance, triggering the cases of diabetes.

The artificial sweeteners in the diet drinks may stimulate and distort appetite, they said, increasing food intake, and encouraging a sweet tooth. Such sweeteners might also affect microbes in the gut leading to glucose intolerance.

The research was a retrospective study, which relied on participants to recall their diet habits.

Josefin Edwall Löfvenborg, lead author, told The Telegraph that soft drinks might influence glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, leading to the increased risk of latent auto-immune diabetes, a form of type 2 diabetes.

“In this study we were surprised by the increased risk in developing autoimmune diabetes by drinking soft drinks,” he said. We next plan on investigating what could counter this risk.”

More research was needed into the impact of diet drinks, he said.