Let’s start with a brief timeline of this story as I’ve reported it so far:
- May 5, 2021: According to 37-year-old Ladonia Patrice Boggs, this was the last day she saw her two-month-old son, Kyon Jones, alive.
- May 7, 2021: Kyon’s father, whose name has not been released, contacted authorities to report his son missing. The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department released Kyon’s identifying information, saying he was a black male infant with brown hair and brown eyes who was last seen in the family’s residence in the 1500 block of Benning Road NE. Police searched the area and went door to door, asking neighbors if they had seen children’s clothing.
- May 8, 2021: An MPD spokesperson told reporters that the criteria for an Amber Alert in Kyon’s case “may not have been met.”
- May 9, 2021: Local missing persons activist Henderson Long, founder of D.C.’s Missing Voice, was handing out flyers with Kyon’s name and information when he ran into Ladonia and asked her if she would go on Facebook Live with him to discuss her son’s disappearance. Ladonia agreed and sat down for an interview with Mr. Long, accompanied by CBS9’s Kolbie Satterfield. During the interview, Ladonia made a shocking confession: that she fell asleep in her bed with Kyon on May 5, rolled over, and woke up to find the infant unresponsive. While talking in circles, contradicting herself, and repeating some statements over and over, Ladonia ultimately described throwing Kyon, his carseat and a blanket in the trash.
- Monday, May 10: Ladonia was named by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as the only person of interest in Kyon’s disappearance. She was being questioned but was not in police custody. The same day, the MPD received assistance from the Charles City County Sheriff’s Department in conducting a multi-day search of a Waste Management landfill near Richmond, Virginia.
- Thursday, May 13: The landfill search concluded without Kyon’s remains being located. MPD Chief Robert Contee announced that investigators were in possession of a video showing Ladonia Boggs throwing some unspecified items into the trash outside her apartment building.
- Friday, May 14: Ladonia Boggs was arrested and charged with felony murder in connection with Kyon’s disappearance.
Since I wrote my initial blog post on Friday, including the immediate update that Ladonia had been arrested just as I made the post, there’s been a lot more information released that I wanted to share, as well as the bewildering update mentioned in the title of this post.
Court documents revealed that surveillance camera footage from the apartment complex showed Ladonia carrying a plastic bag, a cardboard box “large enough to carry a 2-month-old infant,” and a car seat to a dumpster. “The Defendant was captured carrying these items through a door of the premises to the outside. Surveillance footage from the premises also captured the Defendant at the trash dumpster. Moments afterward, the Defendant was seen on surveillance footage reentering the building without any of the above described items.”
According to the documents, Ladonia told police she did so out of panic, admitting she was on PCP and hallucinating when Kyon died. Later, she backtracked on those statements, telling police the last time she smoked PCP was a day or two before she rolled on top of Kyon and found him unresponsive when she awoke.
Evidently, Ladonia contacted Kyon’s father “on or about” Tuesday, May 4, telling him to pick up his son and to pack “all his stuff.” Kyon’s father, who lived elsewhere but occasionally stayed with Ladonia at her apartment, did not comply. The following day, Ladonia contacted him again, saying Kyon would be gone for a long time, because D.C. Children and Family Services Agency (CFSA), which she referred to as “CPS,” had taken the baby.
The same day, May 5, Ladonia called Kyon’s father, this time telling him the baby was gone. When he asked where Kyon was, Ladonia hung up on him. She then called him back, saying “CPS” took the baby, a story that was allegedly backed up by a child in the background of the call.
Ladonia spent that night in a hotel room with Kyon’s father, giving the man the false name of “Wanda Davis” as the CPS caseworker who took Kyon. Wanda Davis is actually a relative of Kyon’s father who lives in Las Vegas. The man contacted the CFSA, asking for information about his son, and was informed the agency had not taken custody of the baby.
On Thursday, May 6, Kyon’s father contacted the National Center for Children and Families to ask for a social worker to investigate his son’s whereabouts. NCCF also informed him that CFSA did not take custody of Kyon, after which the man called the CFSA hotline to report his concern about his missing son and Ladonia’s drug use.
Later that day, D.C. police conducted a welfare check for Kyon at Ladonia’s apartment, at which time Ladonia told officers Kyon did not live there. She insisted no small children lived with her, and police left. According to records, at least eight people, including five children under 18, lived at Ladonia’s apartment.
On May 7, CFSA visited Ladonia’s apartment, where she told them Kyon was removed by “CPS.” When CFSA checked their records, they confirmed that Kyon was not removed by their agency. Caseworkers spoke with Ladonia’s other children, who said their mother told them “CPS” took Kyon. One child also mentioned that Ladonia appeared to be under the influence of some substance and said the last time they saw the baby was on tuesday, May 4. At that point, CFSA contacted the MPD to report Kyon missing.
When police responded to the residence, Ladonia told them a lady from “CPS” had shown up in blue Toyota and taken custody of Kyon, taking with her the infant’s car seat, clothes, and formula. Court records stated, “The defendant also told [CFSA] and the police that a person who did not have badge took the decedent… She gave varying accounts on when the decedent was removed, first saying it was during the nighttime and then saying it was daytime… The Defendant reported that the ‘lady’ had gotten an anonymous call that the Defendant was using drugs and neglecting the child.”
When asked by police for contact information for Kyon’s father, Ladonia initially said she did not have his phone number and hadn’t spoken to him “in a month,” but she ended up giving them his number.
Kyon’s father told police he was worried about Ladonia’s increasing drug use and admitted he used PCP with her recently. However, Ladonia told police she was not under the influence of “anything,” saying she had been sober for a year.
When interviewed at the police station that evening, Ladonia told investigators that Wanda Davis from CPS took her baby several days before, saying the baby’s father told Wanda to take custody of Kyon. She said she gave Wanda all of the baby’s belongings during the 11:00 PM visit. Ladonia said she hadn’t called Kyon’s father to tell him about the custody exchange, that she hadn’t seen him all week, and that all of her other children were outside when Wanda made her visit.
Then, Ladonia changed her story, saying she had given Kyon to his godmother, because she found it impossible to cope with caring for the two-month-old baby. She did not have the woman’s contact information or their text exchanges, however, because she deleted them. When police contacted the woman, who was the paternal grandmother of one of Ladonia’s other children, she said she did not have the baby. Subsequently, Ladonia admitted she knew the woman did not have her son.
Once again, Ladonia changed her story, telling police she gave the baby to her friend who lived on Good Hope Road, saying, “I didn’t want my baby because me and his father was going through whatever we was going through.”
Investigators found no one living on Good Hope Road with the name Ladonia provided them, and she was unable to produce the friend’s phone number.
Finally, after giving the police multiple stories — and she wasn’t finished spinning tall tales, by the way — Ladonia admitted that tiny Kyon, who was premature, was in bed with her when she woke up to find him not breathing. She said she wrapped the baby in a blue blanket and threw him in the dumpster outside the apartment building. Then, she added that she had rolled on top of Kyon when she was asleep and that she gave all of his clothing to a neighbor with a baby around the same age.
You know — how normal people do.
As I mentioned, Ladonia wasn’t done making shit up, according to the court documents: “Hours after her interview was completed, the Defendant contacted a homicide Detective and reported that she had given the decedent to one of the individuals she has previously named.”
On May 8, Ladonia evidently contacted the MPD, telling them the baby died in her home when she was sleeping in the same bed with Kyon and woke up to find “her stomach was on top of him” and he was not breathing. She told investigators she was on PCP at the time and had been hallucinating that day.
Now, bringing us up to date: at 1:00 PM on Saturday, May 15, the day after Ladonia was arrested and charged with both felony murder and tampering with evidence, she appeared before Judge William M. Jackson. By the time the hearing was over, only Ladonia’s charge of tampering with evidence stood, and she was released on no-cost bail into Pretrial Services.
According to a spokesperson for the D.C. Superior Court, it is their understanding that a felony murder charge must come before a grand jury, which will then decide whether or not to indict Ladonia for murder.
One condition of Ladonia’s pretrial release is that she stay away from children, including her own children and her one-year-old grandchild, unless another adult is present. I guess that’s the best shot at a silver lining we get in this story.
NBC4 Washington reported that “Prosecutors opted not to pursue a murder charge” against Ladonia, but I don’t believe that’s quite accurate. A lot of people (including myself) were incensed that Ladonia’s murder charge was evidently dropped, but based on information I cobbled together from news sources, the D.C. Superior Court online case lookup, and a private law firm’s website, here’s what I think happened. (Keep in mind that I’m not an attorney or any other kind of expert.)
The online docket states that on May 15, 2021, the original charges were filed, along with a replacement Gerstein affidavit. Since I had no clue what that was, I dug into it. According to the Scrofano Law website, “For almost all felony charges, the prosecution can ask for a three-day hold and the judge is required by law to grant it if the judge finds probable cause for the offense. The judge will only review something called a ‘Gerstein affidavit,’ which is the officers [sic] sworn statement setting out the facts they allege make probable cause for the offense.
“In almost all cases, the judge finds probable cause at the initial stage of a case.”
My best guess is that in this case, because Kyon’s body hasn’t been found and because of Ladonia’s constant morphing of what she reports as the “facts,” no one can determine which — if any — of her version of events is the truth. Therefore, it’s entirely possible that due to Ladonia’s ever-changing stories, the judge couldn’t find probable cause for an actual murder charge based on the Gerstein affidavit and opted to release her… for now. It’s clear something happened to this baby, but what actually happened is anything but clear. I have to assume the judge wasn’t willing to stake it all at this stage in the game, especially considering Kyon’s remains haven’t been found. When or if the baby is located, particularly if his cause of death can be determined, that will most likely change things drastically. If he’s never found, it’ll be entirely up to the grand jury to decide if there’s enough evidence to indict Ladonia for the intentional murder of her infant son.
On Monday, May 17, 2021, Ladonia was appointed attorney Rachel Cicurel, who replaced her short-lived representation by attorney David Knight. Her next scheduled court date is a felony status conference at 9:30 AM on November 19 before Judge Rainey Brandt, who will preside over the case going forward.
For what it’s worth — and this next part may be lengthy — I took a peek at Ladonia’s criminal history in the District of Columbia, which stretches all the way back to 2003, when she was charged with simple domestic assault. That case was closed as “no papered,” which means the government decided not to file charges despite Ladonia’s arrest.
In May of 2008, Ladonia was charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. Her charge was disposed after she voluntarily completed drug court. A year later, however, she was charged again with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and an additional misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. For her guilty plea to a reduced charge of attempted possession of marijuana, Ladonia was sentenced to 60 days suspended time, 16 hours of community service, a $50 fine, and another year of probation, which included the following conditions: drug testing; drug treatment program; traffic alcohol program; community service; general education diploma preparation; maintain or seek employment. Ladonia was ordered to perform her 16 hours of community service after completing the drug program at Second Genesis, a Washington-based drug treatment facility offering inpatient and outpatient programs.
By September of that year, Ladonia had already violated her probation, so in October, she was sentenced on a misdemeanor charge of attempted possession of a controlled substance to 60 days in jail and another $50 fine.
Ladonia apparently managed to keep her nose clean (so to speak) until September of 2015, when she was charged with misdemeanor destruction of property less than $1,000. This was a doozy of a case that dragged on for almost four years. During the proceedings, a stay away order was issued against Ladonia, who was ordered to be screened for drugs on a regular basis.
She tested positive on December 15, 16, and 18 of 2015 and was ordered to complete 6 Narcotics Anonymous/Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. She did so, but she failed to report for a drug test on January 15, 2016 and tested positive the following day, after which she was placed on a waiting list to receive residential treatment, which she entered at Phoenix House in March of 2016.
She was also given grief counseling and trauma counseling and ordered to receive an x-ray, neither of which was explained in the court docket I viewed. In April of that year, she incurred her 22nd failure to report for drug testing, for which she was required to spend two nights in jail. The same month, Ladonia accepted a diversion agreement in exchange for her guilty plea.
By May of 2017, she had failed to complete her diversion program and was sentenced to 45 days in jail, $50.00 in fines, a $200 restitution payment to the victim, and 12 months of probation with the conditions of drug testing and treatment as deemed appropriate, as well as a continuing stay away order.
By October of 2017, Ladonia had once again violated her probation, but she forgot to show up for the court hearing scheduled for the following month. In April of 2018, Ladonia, who was by then on a GPS monitor, was directed to enter the Next Step Program, an intensive outpatient drug treatment program. Her supervised probation was extended until November of that year and again until January of 2019.
In September of 2018, Ladonia had not drug tested in over a month nor followed through with the recommended resources; her attorney, Heather Pinckney, told the court that her client had been struggling and did not know how to ask for help, saying Ladonia’s probation officer, John McClain, had agreed to work with Ladonia to help her become compliant once again with her probation. By February of 2019, Ladonia was apparently doing well, back in compliance with probation, and had a case manager who was working with her and performing home visits. Even so, due to some scheduling conflict between Ladonia’s outpatient treatment program and her participation in an employment program, her probation was terminated as unsuccessful in July of 2019.
In the meantime, In September of 2017, a warrant was issued against Ladonia, who was arrested on another charge of destruction of property less than $1,000. As a condition of her pretrial release for this charge, she was once again placed into inpatient treatment and in January of 2018, she entered a guilty plea and was sentenced the following month to a suspended sentence of 75 days, a $50 fine, restitution to the victim of $158.63, and 12 months probation with the conditions of another domestic violence stay away order, alcohol testing, drug testing, a mental health evaluation, and maintaining or commencing her education.
TL;DR: In short, this is a woman with a significant history of issues with drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, and possibly mental illness.
Interestingly, another news story broke yesterday, but there is no indication as of yet if it was related to Kyon’s disappearance: around 7:45 AM on Monday, May 17, the MPD’s Fourth District responded to a call for an unconscious child at a medical complex located at 106 Irving Street NW in Washington, D.C., a complex that contains several physicians’ offices. The complex is located near the Med-Star Washington Hospital Center.
According to the incident report, responding officers were directed to the unisex bathroom, where they discovered a child inside a plastic bag in a trash can. The child was pronounced dead by the D.C. Fire and EMS department’s Medical Director, Dr. Robert Holman, who responded to the scene along with the officers. The case is now a death investigation.
Most news sources did not report even the approximate age of the child. Washington’s WDVM, accurately or otherwise, stated the child was an infant.
Out of curiosity, I mapped the location as compared to Ladonia’s apartment at 1511 Benning Road NE; the medical complex is about a 16 minute drive, a 45 minute transit ride, or a 63 minute walk from the residence where Kyon went missing.
When asked this week if Kyon’s remains have been found, the MPD told reporters that no further information is available on this active investigation.
Click here for my ongoing coverage of Kyon’s case.
Sources: WTOP News, DC Superior Court Online Case Search, Fox 5, WUSA9, NBC4 Washington, Scrofanolaw.com, ABC7 News, WDVM