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LaShawnda came to the attention of the Michigan Department of Social Services (DSS) in December 1991, after she got a broken arm and bruises when her father, Byron Ogletree, tried to use her as a shield during a violent argument with her mother, Samora Coates. The DSS decided neither of her parents were fit and at first placed her with Samora's grandmother, then in foster care. In June, LaShawnda was placed in the care of Byron's mother, Barbara Brown, in River Rouge, Michigan.
On August 1, 1991, while Brown was at work and her teenage daughter was babysitting, Ogletree took the baby from the house without permission. Later that day he called Samora and asked her to listen on the phone. She thought she heard him shaking and choaking LaShawnda, and called the police, who began looking for Ogletree and the child. Samora saw him three or four more times aftewrward and each time he promised to take her to where LaShawnda was, then went back on his promise. He gave conflicting stories as to what happened and whether the baby was alive or dead.
On September 7, Ogletree was arrseted in Detroit for parental kidnapping. LaShawnda wasn't with him and he refused to disclose her whereabouts. After his arrest, he told both Samora and Brown that he'd lost his temper and killed the baby. The outcome of the parental kidnapping case against Ogletree is unknown. LaShawnda has never been located.
River Rouge Police Deparment