Child leads West Side neighbor to mom, dead in home
By Joe Gorman
A neighbor investigating after he saw a child without a coat in the yard of a far West Side home Monday afternoon found a woman bludgeoned to death.
The woman’s death in a home in the 3400 block of Shelby Avenue was the city’s 20th homicide of the year and the second in two days.
Lt. Douglas Bobovnyk of the detective bureau identified the victim as 26-year-old Lashea Parker. An arrest warrant has been issued for her boyfriend, Larry Johnson, 39.
Bobovnyk said a neighbor on the street noticed the woman’s four children playing outside just before 2 p.m. and saw that one of them was not wearing a coat.
When he went to check on the child, one of the children let the neighbor into the home, where he discovered the mother’s body and called police.
The children were taken to another neighbor’s home as police processed the crime scene, then family members came and accompanied officers to the police station, where representatives of the Mahoning County Children Services Board were waiting for them.
Bobovnyk said certain guidelines must be followed when questioning young witnesses to a violent crime, which is why CSB officials were summoned to the station. The two oldest children were questioned and all four were released to family members afterward. They range in age from 1 to 7, Bobovnyk said.
Parker was beaten and possibly stabbed, the detective said. He did not know how long she had been dead, and although the children had seen her dead, he was not sure if they had seen the beating that caused her death.
Police also are looking for Parker’s car, which is missing from the home.
Bob Benish, a neighbor who has lived there since 1959, said he was shocked over the homicide. The neighborhood is a quiet one and there rarely is trouble, he said. When there is, neighbors stick together, he added.
“I’m kind of upset this is happening,” Benish said. “We’re kind of really tight. When stuff happens, we go after it.”
Benish said the woman had resided in the neighborhood for about eight months. He didn’t know her name, but said there was never any trouble at her home.
Joe Dubos, who lives on nearby Cascade Avenue, walked over because he saw all the police cars, which he said is a rarity.
“It’s a really quiet neighborhood,” Dubos said.
Police also are investigating the death of Aldric Jones, 23, who died at St. Elizabeth Health Center Monday after being shot at a North Side home Sunday evening. Police said there was not much new to report on his case Tuesday.
Detectives also are looking into the death of 2-month-old Jamar Jones, who died after being found not breathing in a home on Pasadena Avenue on Dec. 12. Police said last week the death was ruled a homicide by the Summit County Coroner’s Office, but the office said Tuesday the cause of death is still pending. Police are treating it as a homicide, however. An autopsy found the baby suffered head and neck injuries, they said.
Summit County performed the autopsy because the baby died at Akron Children’s Hospital.
In 2012, Youngstown recorded 26 homicides.