Le-Zhan Williams Aduction
Le-Zhan Williams Kidnap Case


Le-Zhan Williams case abstract: In May 1996 Le-Zhan Williams was taken from his Vallejo, California home at 3-weeks old when his 17-year old mother, Daphne Boyden, was shot and burned to death by two 15-year old fellow high school students. Le-Zhan's father is rapper, “Young Lay”, who's done work with TuPac and other notable rappers. When police and FBI efforts were not enough, godmother to Le-Zhan, JESSICA KNOX, infiltrated the community to help find Le-Zhan herself. She also used her art on greeting cards to raise awareness of the search. 6 years later, Le-Zhan was found in December 2002 living just 2-miles away.

Today JESSICA KNOX is a missing child advocate and volunteer for the Vanished Children's Alliance (www.vca.org). JESSICA KNOX shows other parents and families how to take proactive steps to find their missing children, how to be an advocate for their child, strategies to work effectively with law enforcement agencies, preventative steps to help protect their children from kidnap or child abduction, and that they are not helpless, that they are not alone.

LATEST NEWS

  • Event: Trial
    • Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2004
    • Time: 1:30 PM
    • Court Room: 101 Vallejo
    • Location: Solano County Superior Court, Criminal Division - 321 Tuolumne Street, Vallejo, CA 94590
    • Phone: (707) 553-5341
    • Defendant: Latasha Ann Brown
    • Case: VCR164648, filed 12/10/2002 - Vallejo Felony
    • Judge: Allan P. Carter, Dept. 12
    • Procedure: MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL
    • More Information: courtconnect.solanocourts.com
  • Event: Anniversary of Le-Zhan Abduction
    • Date: May 17, 1996
  • Event: Anniversary of Le-Zhan Rescue
    • Date: December 7-8, 2002

DISCUSSION GROUP

TV SHOWS

John Walsh

01-07-2003 John Walsh Show: “TORN APART BY ABDUCTION”
formerly posted: http://www.johnwalsh.tv/cgi-bin/topics/today.cgi?id=93
text, photo 1, photo 2, photo 3
On today’s show, two families torn apart by a child abduction and brutal murder will speak out and share their emotional stories in a DAYTIME EXCLUSIVE that is making national headlines. Six years ago, 3-week-old Le-Zhan Williams was abducted from his California home after his 17-year-old mother, Daphne Boyden, was shot and murdered and her home set ablaze in a case that baffled police.

05-1997 Unsolved Mysteries: “Missing: Le-Zhan Williams”
formerly posted: http://www.sitcomsonline.com/unsolvedmysteries-lezhan.html
text
On May 17, 1996, Le-Zhan Williams, the baby of rapper Lathan Williams, was kidnapped. Two teenage girls are wanted for questioning in the case.

12-10-2002 ABC News Good Morning America: “Stolen Child Found Living Two Miles Away”
formerly posted: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/GMA/GoodMorningAmerica/GMA021210Missing_boy_mystery.html
text
A California boy, missing and believed dead since he was snatched as a 3-week-old infant, has turned up six years later, just two miles from the home he was snatched from. ... “We knew within our hearts that that baby was alive somewhere,” Jessica Knox, the boy's godmother, said today on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. “It was like walking in a nightmare six years ago, and then to get the word that the baby is alive and found, it just confirmed what our feelings were. We kept hope alive.”

12-08-2002 CNN: “Kidnapped boy taken from woman held in mother's death”
A boy kidnapped when he was two weeks old has been found six years later living with the woman accused of killing his mother, police said. Vallejo Capt. JoAnn West said Saturday that the child, Le-Zhan Williams, has been attending a school in Vallejo and living in the town under a false name. “[Le-Zhan] was right under our noses,” West said.

CBS News

RADIO

12-2002 KCBS Radio: “The Lezhan Williams Story”
1st Place 2003 SALUTE TO EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER: Bob Butler for “The Lezhan Williams Story” as presented on KCBS Radio in December 2002.

MAGAZINE ARTICLES

Coast Views Magazine

Coast Views link to 1/03 story with photos from 12/8/2003

  • 01-2003 Coast Views Magazine: “Finding Le-Zhan Epilogue: A child is found” [text]
    This past Christmas is one that will forever be remembered for the family of Le-Zhan Williams. In our August 2001 issue, Deb Killarney reported on the tragic 1996 murder in Vallejo of 17-year-old Daphne Boyden and abduction of her 3-week-old son, Le-Zhan Williams, the godson of Coastsider Jessica Knox. Miraculously, last month on December 6, the family was notified that Le-Zhan, now 6 years old, had been found alive and well, and the two women responsible for the kidnapping and murder arrested.
  • 08-2001 Coast Views Magazine: “Finding Le-Zhan”
    Ever hear of him? He's probably a darling little five-year-old, living a decent life somewhere... but it's not his life. You can't sugar coat this story. There's no better way to say it, than to just say it. When Le-Zhan Williams was three weeks and five days old, he was abducted from his family home in Vallejo, California, while his murdered mother's body lay burning on the sofa. You might wonder, “What does this have to do with me or our sleepy, rural town of Half Moon Bay?” Jessica Knox, a 16-year resident of Half Moon Bay is godmother to Le-Zhan and cousin of his mother.

NEWS ARTICLES

San Francisco Chronicle

SF Chronicle link to photos from 12/08/2003

  • 12-11-2002 San Francisco Chronicle: “No bail for boy's alleged abductors: Suspects appear in Vallejo court ”
    Two women accused in the 1996 shooting death of a Vallejo mother and the abduction of her infant son were ordered held without bail Tuesday, while the boy's great-grandmother called his discovery the best Christmas present “in years and years and years.” Latasha Brown, 22, and her cousin, Ocianetta Williams, 23, appeared in a Vallejo courtroom to face murder and kidnap charges filed after a tipster led police last week to 6-year-old Le-Zhan Williams, who had been living 2 miles away under a new name. Ocianetta Williams is accused of bringing a firearm on May 17, 1996, to the home of 17-year-old Daphne Boyden, the mother of 3-week-old Le-Zhan. Boyden was shot twice in the head, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday. Her attackers set Boyden's body and the house on fire, then fled with Le- Zhan, and witnesses reported seeing two girls leaving the scene carrying a bundle, police said.
  • 12-10-2002 San Francisco Chronicle: “DNA confirms identity of stolen boy; Third suspect held in his abduction and his mother's slaying 6 years ago ”
    DNA tests confirmed Monday that a 6-year-old boy found last week is Le- Zhan Williams, who was kidnapped as a baby six years ago and had been living 2 miles away in Vallejo under a new name, police said. The news came as authorities announced the arrest of a third suspect in the case, and the boy's relatives said they hope to be reunited with him. Child protective services has been caring for Le-Zhan since police arrested a woman they believe snatched him after killing his mother in their home in 1996. “My family wants to take baby steps with Le-Zhan,” said Jessica Knox, Le- Zhan's godmother and cousin. “We know we can't just rush in there and overwhelm him.” ... “He belongs to our family, but he was taken from our family, and those people have a little piece of his mind,” Knox said. “I want to tell him that it's OK to feel angry, and OK to feel hurt at the people who took him, but he can't become like them.”
SF Chronicle link to photos from 12/10/2002 San Francisco Examiner
  • 12-10-2002 San Francisco Chronicle: “Boy ID'd as kidnap victim”
    DNA tests proved Monday that a 6-year-old boy found living in Vallejo last week is the victim of a 1996 kidnapping that occurred just two miles from the home where the youngster has been living ever since, police said. Tests proved the boy is Le-Zhan Williams, who was abducted as a baby after his mother was killed and her house set on fire, Vallejo police said. Jessica Knox, the boy's godmother, said family members hope to be reunited with the youngster, but do not know whenthat would happen.
Vallejo Times Herald
  • 05-19-2004 Vallejo Times Herald: “Nurse: Brown said she wanted abortion ”
    As arguably the most bizarre murder case in recent Vallejo history ended Tuesday, startling new facts were uncovered involving the defendant's alleged desire for an abortion, and the whereabouts of the child she allegedly kidnapped for seven years. ... Five months before allegedly killing 17-year-old Daphne Boyden, Latasha Brown said she wanted an abortion after receiving a positive pregnancy test, a pediatric nurse testified. Brown later lost her child and allegedly abducted ...
  • 05-13-2004 Vallejo Times Herald: “Prosecution concludes its case in Brown's murder, kidnapping trial”
    Latasha Ann Brown - the accused kidnapper of Le-Zhan Williams and murderer of the infant's mother - reportedly told relatives in Texas that her mother put her out of the house after she had the baby. ... Evelyn L. Smith, Latasha Brown's aunt, testified last Dec. 10, before Solano County Judge Allan P. Carter. The jury watched her videotaped testimony (she lives in Texas and could not return for the trial) on Thursday morning.
  • 04-21-2004 Vallejo Times Herald: “Judge in murder-kidnap trial OKs use of defendant's 'letter to God'”
    A Solano County judge said Wednesday he will allow the prosecution to introduce a "letter to God" from Lata-sha Ann Brown in her upcoming trial on charges of murder, kidnapping and arson. ... Judge Allan P. Carter also confirmed Wednesday that jury selection will begin on May 10. The trial is expected to take eight days.
  • 02-26-2004 Vallejo Times Herald: “Judge rejects bid for delay in Brown murder-kidnap trial”
    A Solano County judge on Thursday rejected a trial delay requested by Latasha Ann Brown, 23, the woman accused of kidnapping Le-Zhan Williams and murdering his mother. ... Defense attorney William Pendergast had asked for extra time so Dr. John Podboy, a forensic psychologist, could examine Brown. ... Judge Allan P. Carter said the request did not justify a delay, but Carter indicated Pendergast could resubmit his request.
  • 10-31-2003 Vallejo Times Herald: “Judge puts off kidnap-murder trial ”
    A Solano County Superior Court judge Friday postponed the Dec. 8 trial date of a woman accused of kidnapping Le-Zhan Williams and murdering his 17-year-old mother after an attorney argued that a key defense witness would be unavailable to testify at that time. ... Judge Allan P. Carter rescheduled the trial for 8:30 a.m. March 22. ... Latasha Brown, 22, her mother, Delores Brown, 45, and Ocianetta Williams, 24, were arrested in December 2002 in connection with the crimes that occurred May 17, 1996.
  • 07-24-2003 Vallejo Times Herald: “Case begins to heat up”
    A Vallejo woman admitted Wednesday to participating in the 1996 slaying of Daphne Boyden and kidnapping of Boyden's infant son. At the same time, she accused a friend of firing the fatal shot and setting fire to Boyden's home to cover up the crime. Ocianetta Banika Williams said that Latasha Ann Brown hugged Boyden, then shot her, set the blaze and ran off with Boyden's 3-week-old son, Le-Zhan Williams.
  • 03-21-2003 Vallejo Times Herald: “Le-Zhan case ordered to juvenile court”
    Both Latasha Ann Brown and Ocianetta Banika Williams, who face murder and kidnapping charges, were ordered to Solano County Juvenile Court on Thursday following a San Francisco appellate court decision. On March 12, the First District Court of Appeal sent an order to Solano County Superior Court that Williams be sent to juvenile court. Judge Allan P. Carter, who had previously denied such motions to both defendants, also ordered Brown to be sent to juvenile court Thursday.
  • 02-21-2003 Vallejo Times Herald: “Delores Brown sentenced, but no jail time”
    Delores Ann Brown was sentenced to 365 days in county jail and placed on three years probation Thursday for her participation in the 1996 abduction of Le-Zhan Williams. But Solano County Judge Allan P. Carter will allow Brown, 44, to participate in a Sheriff's Work Alternative Program rather than spend a year behind bars. He ordered her to turn herself in for assignment at the Fairfield County Jail on April 1. Carter also canceled a March 4 preliminary hearing for Brown's daughter Latasha Ann Brown and family friend Ocianetta Banika Williams, who have been charged with murder and kidnapping in the case. The postponement was ordered because an appellate court has not yet ruled on a review of Carter's rejection of a defense motion to transfer the case to Juvenile Court.
  • 01-11-2003 Vallejo Times Herald: “Brown, Williams will be tried as adults”
    A Solano County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that two women will be tried as adults although they were teenagers when prosecutors say they killed 17-year-old Daphne Boyden and stole her infant son six years ago. “The potential maximum punishments are identical in both courts,” Judge Allan P. Carter said before denying two pre-trial defense motions designed to alter the prosecution of Latasha A. Brown, 22, and Ocianetta B. Williams, 23. As expected, Carter also agreed to drop an arson charge against Brown after her attorney argued that the statute of limitations had expired for that crime. But, the judge upheld a kidnapping count against her despite an identical time restriction placed on abduction charges.
  • 01-04-2003 Vallejo Times Herald: “Delores Brown offers up plea, gets out of jail”
    The mother of a woman accused of kidnapping Le-Zhan Williams in 1996, pleaded no contest Friday to a single charge of child stealing and was later released from jail. Solano County Superior Court Judge Allan P. Carter found Delores Brown, 44, guilty of the charge and, based on her plea, released her from jail on her own recognizance, pending sentencing. Carter ordered Brown to return to court at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 20 for sentencing. Carter conditioned Brown's release on her promise that she have no direct or indirect contact with “the minor child,” referring to Le-Zhan Williams, either telephonically or by mail.
  • 12-29-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “A look back at 2002”
    The year 2002 had yet another missing child case grab Vallejo headlines when youngster Le-Zhan Williams was found alive after being abducted six years ago. The strange child abduction and murder story was named the Times-Herald story of the year, becoming the fourth straight year a child abduction story was deemed most intriguing by the paper's newsroom staff.
  • 12-20-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Chaplain: Delores Brown brought Le-Zhan to police headquarters on occasion”
    The young kidnapped boy sought for more than six years was literally under the noses of unsuspecting detectives several times at Vallejo police headquarters this year, a suspended police chaplain said Thursday. Lydia Pitchford told the Times-Herald that Delores Brown, now accused of concealing Le-Zhan Williams, often brought the boy to the main police station, where Pitchford had trained her as a volunteer mail carrier.
  • 12-19-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Le-Zhan's story heads to television”
    Lt. Rick Nichelman is leaving for New York today to tape an interview Friday with “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh, who has taken interest in one of Vallejo's most talked-about crimes. Nichelman said the show's staff also invited relatives of 6 and 1/2-year-old Le-Zhan Williams to join the panel-style chat in front of a live studio audience. The sister of Latasha Brown, the woman accused of stealing Le-Zhan and murdering his birthmother in May 1996, is also expected to attend.
  • 12-15-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Six years later, money raised for Le-Zhan still waiting to be used”
    A white T-shirt designed and sold in 1996 to raise money for kidnapped infant Le-Zhan Williams carried this cryptic postscript: “Fight the fear.” Written in red next to the child's picture, the message targeted anyone with knowledge about who stole the baby and murdered his 17-year-old mother in Vallejo's Country Club Crest neighborhood. For months, police tried to track the killers, but leads dried up as people in the Crest -- and friends of the baby's rap star father -- became too scared to talk.
  • 12-14-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Delores Brown makes another deal, will make 'full' statement to cops”
    Delores Ann Brown, who aided investigators in solving the case of missing youngster Le-Zhan Williams in exchange for a reduced sentence, has agreed to another deal with authorities. She will give a police detective her “full, complete and truthful statement” in exchange for her release from custody, her attorney said Friday. ... Spieckerman argued Friday in court to reduce Delores Ann Brown's bail of $250,000 because of her volunteer work with the Vallejo police, her longtime residence in Vallejo, her “other daughter is in serious trouble,” and she has already helped investigators. Judge Carter agreed and lowered bail to $50,000.
  • 12-13-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Difficult, painful road ahead for one little boy”
    Now that Le-Zhan Williams is separated from the only mother he's ever known, the 61/2-year-old Vallejo boy who was kidnapped as an infant likely faces a confused sense of identity and an awkward reunion with his birth family. ... “The child is going to feel pain no matter how you look at it,” said Georgia K. Hilgeman-Hammond, executive director and founder of the San Jose-based Vanished Children's Alliance. “It's important not to overwhelm the child with overwhelming emotions and loud sounds. It's important to give a child a sense of control.”
  • 12-13-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Plea in the works for suspect's mother”
    Delores Ann Brown, who prosecutors say concealed her daughter's kidnapping of young Le-Zhan Williams over the past six years, eventually helped solve the case, police revealed Thursday. As reward for that help, she may enter a guilty plea today that could give her a maximum of one year in county jail, her attorney said.
  • 12-12-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Suspect's aunt altered birth certificate; three women arraigned in court”
    Imprisoned rapper Lathan “Young Lay” Williams never told investigators in 1996 that he knew the woman who now stands accused of kidnapping his infant son and killing his mother, police said Wednesday. That's one reason police say that neither Latasha Brown nor her mother, Delores, were questioned after Le-Zhan Williams was abducted and his mother, Daphne Boyden, was shot to death in May 1996. It has been recently learned that the rapper, now behind bars in Susanville for a 1999 armed robbery, was romantically involved with Latasha Brown. Police were reportedly attempting to interview Williams about his son's abduction, and a spokesman said investigators haven't ruled out that he knows more about the case than he has revealed.
  • 12-11-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “No death penalty in Le-Zhan case”
    The pair of women charged in the murder of Daphne Boyden and kidnapping of Boyden's infant son, Le-Zhan Williams, six years ago will not face the death penalty, prosecutors said Tuesday. Meanwhile, Vallejo detectives traveled throughout Northern California and other states seeking others connected to the case. The Solano County District Attorney's Office will prosecute Latasha Brown and Ocianetta Williams as adults, but will not seek the death penalty. Brown and Williams, 15 and 16 at the time of the crime respectively, would have been prosecuted as minors in 1996, when the crime occurred, said Deputy District Attorney Donna Stashyn.
  • 12-10-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Third arrest made: Homeless women in custody”
    Police announced Monday they arrested a third woman for the 1996 kidnapping of Le-Zhan Williams and the grisly murder of his teenage mother. Shortly before midnight Sunday, police arrested Latasha Ann Brown's homeless cousin and charged her with helping Brown kill a 17-year-old girl and steal the teenager's infant son in May 1996. Officers arrested Ocianetta B. Williams, 23, at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, where she was being treated for an unknown medical problem. Police say she is not related to Le-Zhan Williams, the birth name of the boy recovered Friday in Sacramento after years of living with Brown in Vallejo.
  • 12-10-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Relatives shown recent photos of Le-Zhan”
    Although he's still in protective custody, Le-Zhan Williams, 6 1/2, was reintroduced Monday to excited relatives through recent photos provided by friends who never dreamed the youngster had been kidnapped. A group of young women familiar with Le-Zhan contacted the Boyden family Monday after police released photographs of three women arrested this week for murdering Le-Zhan's birthmother and kidnapping him in May 1996. They told the Boydens they did not know the child's true identity. ... “These girls were really upset,” said Jessica Knox, Le-Zhan's godmother and Daphne's cousin. “He was in this circle of people.” Knox said one visitor was related to someone who sometimes babysat Le-Zhan for Latasha Brown, 22, who police have charged with murdering Boyden and abducting the child. Brown's cousin, Ocianetta Williams, 23, no relation to Le-Zhan, was arrested and charged Monday with helping Brown carry out the killing. Latasha's mother, Delores Ann Brown, is charged with child concealment only. “Latasha obviously left him with other people,” Knox said. “It's very complicated.”
  • 12-09-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “West: 'Others have information' about slaying, child's abduction”
    The police dragnet widened Sunday for at least two others who police say helped a Vallejo woman kidnap infant Le-Zhan Williams, murder his teenage mother and commit arson to cover up their crimes six years ago. Detectives are looking for an unidentified woman they believe accompanied Latasha Ann Brown, then 15 years old, when she killed 17-year-old Daphne Boyden and abducted Le-Zhan, a police spokesperson said Sunday. Witnesses to the May 1996 crime remember seeing two women leaving the burning house. Capt. JoAnn West declined to release the suspect's name, age, whereabouts or relationship to Brown, a Vallejo resident and sometimes hairdresser who was arrested in Suisun City Friday on suspicion of murder and kidnapping.
  • 12-08-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “'Right under our noses'”
    The 22-year-old woman arrested for the 1996 kidnapping of young Le-Zhan De-Mariae Williams and the murder of his mother had a “romantic relationship” with the child's rapper father and likely acted out of jealousy, police said Saturday. Vallejo Capt. JoAnn West added that the child, now 6-1/2, has been attending a Vallejo school and living in Vallejo under a false name. “He (Le-Zhan) was right under our noses,” West said, addressing reporters at the steps of police headquarters. Latasha Brown was charged with homicide and kidnapping after she was taken off a Greyhound Bus in Suisun City on Friday morning. Her mother, Delores Ann Brown, 44, was later arrested in Vallejo and charged with concealing a child.
  • 12-08-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Relatives of abducted infant fianlly feel some closure”
    The arrest of two suspects and discovery of young Le-Zhan Williams in Vallejo means “that we'll have closure on everything,” Henrietta Williams, the 6-year-old's paternal grandmother, said Saturday. “Though there's been a lot of pain, we're thankful that he has been taken care of and is in good health,” echoed Jessica Knox, Le-Zhan's maternal cousin and godmother. ... Knox, the boy's maternal cousin, said she thought about him, "every minute, every second" and insisted nobody in the family gave up hope. “The last six years were very hard, but we knew he was alive," Knox said. "I never believed he was dead.” Knox praised Vallejo police and the FBI, who participated in parts of the investigation. “This is a kidnapping and murder case that's been solved. They went and caught them red-handed,” Knox said. However, she quickly added, “it was devastating for us, knowing a child is missing, and there were people who couldn't care.” Knox said Le-Zhan's mother “was a wonderful person” who “was naive enough to let someone in her home. It was brutal what they did to her and then calling the child their own.” ... Knox said she still has compassion for the suspects, despite what police say they did. “I don't hate them. I really feel for them,” Knox said. “I do think it's horrible what they had to do to bring some kind of peace to their own pain. May God bless them for not hurting the child.” Knox said it's “not the people who were sick enough to raise a child and call him their own" that concerns her, but the people who have known details about the crime for the last six years and said nothing. Henrietta Williams, Lathan Williams' mother, wasn't as forgiving. “There's no reason for it,” she said. Knox said it is not her place to levy punishment against the Browns. “I feel that's what the justice system is for, for people like me who don't understand things,” Knox said. “I think it would be really selfish of me to put that into words. They took something that broke my heart and hurt my family.”
  • 12-07-2002 Vallejo Times Herald: “Two in custody for abduction of rapper's son, slaying of mother”
    After years of investigation, Vallejo police arrested a woman and her mother Friday in connection with the 1996 death of a 17-year-old girl and the abduction of rapper Lathan “Young Lay” Williams' infant son. While they were rounding up suspects Friday, police found the missing boy, Le-Zhan Williams, now 6, in good condition in Sacramento and placed him in protective custody. Detectives said one of the suspects led them to the boy. An anonymous tip received Monday led police to the two women and provided the first major break in a case that has been one of the most challenging and high-profile Vallejo police have ever undertaken.
Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic

Daily Republic link to photos from 12/07/2003
  • 07-24-2003 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “Friend's testimony sends Brown to trial -- As plea deal, witness tells of kidnapping, murder in Vallejo” (by Tim Fields)
    Daphne Boyden was nursing her infant son when Latasha Ann Brown leaned over the couch, hugged her good-bye and shot her, according to witness testimony in a Solano County court Wednesday morning. Brown, 22, will be arraigned Aug. 8 on charges of killing Boyden in her Vallejo home in May 1996 and kidnapping her son, Judge Allan P. Carter said after a preliminary hearing. Brown's close friend and cousin, Ocianetta Williams, 23, was with her that night six years ago. On Wednesday she offered her testimony in exchange for a shorter sentence of 13 years and eight months in prison. Williams would still face 25 years to life in prison if the District Attorney believed she was lying. With both hands shackled to her waist, Williams strained to wipe tears from her eyes. A week before the killing, Brown told her she wanted to go over to Boyden's house to do three things: To see the baby, kill Boyden and steal the baby, Williams said.
  • 12-14-2002 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “Vallejo kidnapping plea deal stalls” (by Jess Sullivan)
    Reports of an imminent plea deal proved to be premature Friday for one of three women tied to a 1996 murder-kidnapping scheme. Delores Ann Brown, 44, whose daughter and niece face murder charges, was in court twice Friday. Her first hearing came after a 20-minute closed-door meeting between her attorney, Carl Spieckerman, the prosecutor and Judge Allan P. Carter. The in-chambers talk included the possibility that Brown would plead no contest to a felony charge of child stealing in exchange for spending no more than a year in jail, plus the recommendation she get alternative sentencing such as house arrest,Spieckerman said.
  • 12-12-2002 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “Police question Texas nurse about connection” (by Ana Facio Contreras)
    Vallejo police believe a Texas nurse used her job to falsify the birth certificate of Le-Shan Williams, the baby her niece allegedly kidnapped six years ago, officers said Wednesday. Detectives returned Wednesday from Texas where they interviewed the unidentified woman, the aunt of Latasha Brown, the 22-year-old woman charged with killing 17-year-old Daphne Boyden in 1996 and kidnapping Boyden's 25-day-old son. Detectives believe the nurse claimed she delivered the boy at home in Texas, Vallejo police Lt. David Jackson said. Brown fled to Texas a few days after the kidnapping and homicide. She spent five months there before returning to Vallejo with the boy, who she named Nyesheyis Brown, she said during a jail house interview.
  • 12-12-2002 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “Suspect pleads not guilty” (by Jess Sullivan)
    One of the two women accused of killing a Vallejo mother in 1996 and then stealing her infant child pleaded innocent Wednesday. Ocianetta Williams' attorney, Marc K. Tirrell, entered pleas on murder and kidnapping and firearms charges before raising procedural concerns about the case not starting in the juvenile courts. Williams was 17 at the time she allegedly joined her 16-year-old cousin, Latasha Brown, in a conspiracy to kill 17-year-old Daphne Boyden and steal the child who Brown raised until she was arrested by Vallejo police last week, officials said. Brown's mother, Delores Ann Brown, 44, was also arrested and charged with felony child concealment.
  • 12-11-2002 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “Vallejo kidnap suspects make first court appearance” (by Jess Sullivan)
    Two women, then 15 and 16, now 22 and 23, made their first court appearances Tuesday for the 1996 death of a teenage mother and the abduction of her infant son. Latasha Brown and her cousin, Ocianetta Williams, stood shackled and handcuffed as Commissioner John P. Dean started the process of taking their pleas in a courtroom packed with family and friends of the victims and suspects, gawkers, Sheriff's deputies and reporters. Dean told the two women they were being charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy for the death of 17-year old Daphne Boyden and the abduction of her three-week old son, Le-Zhan Williams, who is now 6. Brown also faces an arson charge for allegedly starting a fire that damaged Boyden's home, the crime scene where Vallejo police found her body with three gunshot wounds.
  • 12-10-2002 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “'I just wanted to hold a baby'” (by Ana FacioContreras)
    Latasha Brown, the 22-year-old woman suspected of killing 17-year-old Daphne Boyden in 1996 and kidnapping Boyden's 25-day old son said she was under the influence of drugs and doesn't remember the crime that occurred more than six years ago. “All I can say is that I'm sorry. That wasn't supposed to happen,” Brown sobbed Monday during a jail house interview. ... Brown claimed she had slept with the baby's father, local hip-hop recording artist Lathan “Young Lay” Williams, but wasn't his girlfriend. But she said she was never jealous of Boyden's relationship with Williams. Detectives haven't pinpointed a motive for the killing and kidnapping but suspect jealousy was an issue, Vallejo police Capt. JoAnn West said. Although Brown said she doesn't remember the crime, she said she “couldn't let (the baby) burn up” and took the infant with her when she left Boyden's home the night of the crime. She said she knew Boyden had a baby. She knew her from school - they both attended Hogan High in Vallejo.
  • 12-10-2002 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “Third suspect arrested in Vallejo kidnapping” (by Ana Facio Contreras)
    The cousin of Latasha Brown, the woman suspected of killing 17-year-old Daphne Boyden more than six years ago and kidnapping her 25-day-old son, was also arrested Sunday night on charges of murder and kidnapping. Ocianetta Williams, 23, was arrested after 11 p.m. at the Kaiser Medical Center in Vallejo, according to Vallejo police Capt. JoAnn West. Detectives have information that places Williams at the Rounds Street home where Boyden was shot to death and set ablaze on May 17, 1996, West said. Boyden's infant son disappeared the same night. Over the weekend, detectives interviewed witnesses that led them to Williams' whereabouts. West said Williams, who may be homeless, last lived at an address in Pittsburgh. Williams and Brown are believed to be the two girls seen by neighbors running away from Boyden's home carrying a small bundle the night of the homicideand kidnapping.
  • 12-09-2002 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “Vallejo family 'never gave up hope'” (by Ana Facio Contreras)
    Inside the home of 78-year-old Riva Lee Boyden on Rounds Street, a framed photo of herself holding her infant great-grandson Le-Zhan De-Mariae Williams sits atop a coffee table. The prominent place of the photo has always been a sign of her family's strong belief of recovering the now 6-year-old boy, kidnapped as a newborn in 1996 after his mother, Daphne Boyden was shot to death and her body set ablaze at the home on Rounds Street. ... Williams said she and other family members, on both sides of the boy's family, believe someone knew of her grandson's whereabouts. “People knew and never came forward,” Williams said. Jessica Knox, the god-mother of the boy and first cousin to his late mother, agreed. “Vallejo is a small town. Somebody had had to know and they didn't care,” Knox said. As for when Knox and the rest of the family will see Le-Zhan, she said she doesn't know. ... Knox said the whole family would love to be reunited with the boy by Christmas. She said the whole case is very “complex and unreal.”
  • 12-08-2002 Fairfield-Suisun City Daily Republic: “Missing child found alive after 6 years -- Police arrest suspects in '96 kidnapping'” (by Rowena Lugtu-Shaddox)
    A Vallejo newborn kidnapped in 1996 after his mother was shot to death and her body set ablaze is alive, healthy and 6 years old today. Police on Friday arrested Latasha Brown, 22, for killing 17-year-old Daphne Boyden on May 17, 1996, and kidnapping her two-week-old son, Le-Zhan De-Mariae Williams. Officers took her into custody after she got off a Sacramento Greyhound bus when it arrived in Suisun City. “She suspected we were looking for her,” Vallejo police Capt. JoAnn West said. ... The family is grateful Brown “cared for Le-Zhan and didn't hurt him,” said Jessica Knox, the boy's first cousin. ... “The kidnap and murder was solved by good police work,” Knox said.
Vacaville Reporter
  • 08-10-2003 Vacaville Reporter: “Brown goes to trial in December”
    Latasha Ann Brown entered pleas of not guilty Friday in Solano County Superior Court in the 1996 slaying of Daphne Boyden and the kidnapping of Boyden's infant son, Le-Zhan Williams. Judge Allan P. Carter set Brown's jury trial for Dec. 8 at 8:30 a.m. He anticipated a six- to eight-day jury trial. He also planned a trial management conference at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 30. Prior to that, Brown pleaded not guilty to murder and kidnapping charges. On July 23, Ocianetta Banika Williams reached a plea agreement in exchange for a prison term of 13 years and eight months. Williams will testify against Brown, alleging Brown fired the fatal shot May 17, 1996, and set fire to Boyden's home to cover up the crime.
  • 05-24-2003 Vacaville Reporter: “Kidnap suspects get trial as adults” (by Robert McCockran)
    Two young Vallejo women accused of the 1996 kidnapping of an infant will be tried as adults, despite having been minors at the time of the crime, Superior Court Judge Dwight Ely ruled Friday in a Vallejo courtroom. Ely dismissed arguments that Ocianetta Banike Williams, now 23, and Natasha Ann Brown, now 22, might be rehabilitated and sent the case to Judge Allan P. Carter, who next Friday will set a date for a preliminary hearing.
  • 12-21-2002 Vacaville Reporter: “Chaplain says boy, long-sought, was under police noses” (by J.M. Brown)
    The kidnapped boy sought by detectives for more than six years was literally under their noses at Vallejo police headquarters, according to a suspended police chaplain. Lydia Pitchford said that Delores Brown, now accused of concealing Le-Zhan Williams, often brought the boy to the main police station, where Pitchford had trained her as a volunteer mail carrier. ... Pitchford said Brown introduced the child around the station as her grandson after joining the department a year ago.
  • 12-20-2002 Vacaville Reporter: “Mother appears in court for preliminary hearing” (by Brian Hamlin)
    A Vallejo woman charged with concealing the baby her daughter is accused of kidnapping during a bizarre murder-arson six years ago will return to Solano County Superior Court in Vallejo today for a preliminary hearing. Delores Brown, 44, a Vallejo police volunteer who reportedly helped police locate the child her daughter is accused of stealing in 1996, was arrested Dec. 6 and booked at Solano County Jail.
  • 12-14-2002 Vacaville Reporter: “Alleged kidnapper, murderer pleads innocent; Delores Brown also appeared in court Friday and the judge reduced her bail to $50,000” (by Matthias Gafni)
    The woman accused of killing a young mother, kidnapping her baby boy and raising him as her own for six years pleaded innocent Friday. Latasha Brown, 22, appeared for a brief morning hearing in Solano County court to answer to charges of murder, kidnapping and arson. In the afternoon her mother, Dolores Ann Brown, went before Judge Allan P. Carter.
  • 12-13-2002 Vacaville Reporter: “Helpful mother gets plea bargain” (by Matthias Gafni)
    Delores Brown, who prosecutors say concealed her daughter's kidnapping of young Le-Zhan Williams over the past six years, eventually helped solve the case, police revealed Thursday. As reward for that help, she may enter a guilty plea today that could give her a maximum of one year in county jail, her attorney said. The mysterious plea bargain deal was made Dec. 6, the same day Delores Brown, 44, was arrested by Vallejo police, attorney Carl Spieckerman said.
  • 12-12-2002 Vacaville Reporter: “Innocent pleas by two of three in kidnap” (by Brian Hamlin)
    Innocent pleas were entered Wednesday by two of three women accused in a bizarre murder-arson-baby abduction that occurred in Vallejo six years ago.
  • 12-11-2002 Vacaville Reporter: “No death penalty in Vallejo case” (by Matthias Gafni)
    The pair of women charged in the murder of Daphne Boyden and then kidnapping Boyden's infant son Le-Zhan Williams six years ago will not face the death penalty, prosecutors said Tuesday. Meanwhile, Vallejo detectives traveled throughout Northern California and other states seeking others connected to the case.
  • 12-10-2002 Vacaville Reporter: “Third arrest in Vallejo kidnapping” (by J.M. Brown)
    Police announced Monday they arrested a third woman for the 1996 kidnapping of Le-Zhan Williams and the grisly murder of his teenage mother. Shortly before midnight Sunday, police arrested Latasha Ann Brown's homeless cousin and charged her with helping Brown kill a 17-year-old girl and steal the teenager's infant son in May 1996. Officers arrested Ocianetta B. Williams, 23, at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, where she was being treated for an unknown medical problem. Police say she is not related to Le-Zhan Williams, the birth name of the boy recovered Friday in Sacramento after years of living with Brown in Vallejo.
  • 12-08-2002 Vacaville Reporter: “Woman held in kidnap, murder case” (by Tanya Mannes)
    More than six years after the girlfriend of rapper Lathan “Young Lay” Williams was found slain inside her charred Vallejo home after their 2-week-old son was kidnapped, police received an anonymous tip that led them to the boy, and to a suspected killer. The woman who allegedly posed as the boy's mother, Latasha Brown, 22, was arrested Friday in Suisun City as she was stepping off a Greyhound Bus returning from Sacramento, where she left him with a family friend. Police expect her to be charged with murder and kidnapping. ... “We are blessed that this is a very clean case,” said a jubilant Jessica Knox of Aptos, who is godmother to the child and a first cousin to the family. “(Police) caught them red-handed. We are thankful that he is alive and unharmed.”
Oakland Tribune
  • 12-08-2002 Oakland Tribune: “Kidnap of rapper's son called case of jealousy” (by Richard Freedman)
    The 22-year-old woman arrested for the 1996 kidnapping of young Le-Zhan De-Mariae Williams and the slaying of his mother had a “romantic relationship” with the child's rapper father and likely acted out of jealousy, police said Saturday. Vallejo Police Capt. JoAnn West said the child, now 6, has been attending a Vallejo school and living under a false name. “He (Le-Zhan) was right under our noses,” West told reporters.
  • 12-07-2002 Oakland Tribune: “Rapper's missing 6-year-old son found” (by J.M. Brown)
    After years of investigation, Vallejo police arrested a woman and her mother Friday in connection with the 1996 death of a 17-year-old girl and the abduction of rapper Lathan “Young Lay” Williams' infant son. While they were rounding up suspects Friday, police found the missing boy, Le-Zhan Williams, now 6, in good condition in Sacramento and placed him in protective custody. Detectives said one of the suspects led them to the boy.
Vallejo News - Le-Zhan case (Features 20 Articles on Le-Zhan case)

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