Cold Case: Murder unsolved 9 years after Dayton mom receives call saying son is dead

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A mysterious phone call led to the discovery of a young Dayton father shot dead. More than nine years later, his murder has gone unsolved.

Dawann Harris was shot and killed in the early morning hours of March 10, 2012, in an apartment on Kensington Drive and Prescott Avenue.

“My brother was just so loving, so caring, he like didn’t deserve this,” cried Kadeisha Harris, Dawann’s sister. “It’s hurtful every day to go without my brother.”

Dawann was 22-years-old and had a 2-year-old daughter.

“He had the biggest smile, biggest heart,” said Ashley Odon, a friend of Dawann. “We’re all confused. We’re all hurt. We’re all angry. We’re all sad right now. It’s nine years later and we still don’t know why this even happened.”

Nine years ago, Lawanda Harris made the discovery after she received a chilling phone call from someone saying her son had been shot.

“He’s on Kensington. That’s all he said,” Lawanda described what the voice on the other end of the line said.

Lawanda said when she and her daughter Kaneisha arrived at the apartment, there was a light on but the door was closed, and there was blood on the glass.

“He was tipped over, but his eyes were still open. And at the time we’re not thinking. I’m calling him like ‘Dawann, Dawann,’ but he’s not — then my mom moved him, and that’s when we see the blood,” said his sister, Kaneisha Harris.

Dawann had been shot in the head, and trash had been thrown all over the apartment.

“I got him to the doorway, and he moved so I’m like my baby gonna be okay. But he wasn’t okay,” said Lawanda, tearing up;.

Kaneisha called Dayton Police.

“The difference in this case is the fact that the family got notified before the police got notified. So, someone called the family to tell them that their son, brother was shot and where to find him. So the family actually went over and found him first, and then contacted us afterwards,” said Detective Patty Tackett of the Dayton Police Department Cold Case Unit. “In some regards, the fact that they got a phone call, that just kind of tells you that there were people that knew.”

Detectives say there were a lot of people coming and going at the apartment on a regular basis. They originally interviewed witnesses and identified persons of interest, but it never led to any arrests.

“Was there a motive to it? Some people say he had no enemies. Nobody should’ve done that. But there was a lot of people that were coming in and out of the apartment so something must’ve happened,” states Detective Tackett. “There had to have been some words. There had to have been some circumstances and stuff that made someone want to kill him that night.”

Dayton Police say they need more information to be able to make an arrest and prosecute the person who killed Dawann. They’re looking to talk with anyone who was at the apartment that day or anyone who might have new evidence to help them solve the case.

“Sometimes just knowing who did it, and having the evidence to prove it, and to have the people be willing to testify in court in order to get that person to be prosecuted, is often difficult,” admits Detective Tackett. “We do have to have the people in the community willing to come forward to be able to say ‘Yeah, we need justice for Dawann and his family.'”

The apartment where Dawann was shot has been torn down, and an empty field now sits in that spot.

“I used to go every which way to avoid this street. I did for the longest,” said Kadeisha. “People think all because we keep a smile on our face and we keep going and everything, like everything is okay. It’s not okay.”

His family is still waiting for answers and closure more than nine years later.

“It’s crazy that the people that did this are still walking around,” said Lawanda. “I don’t understand how they just sleep with themselves.”

“Our hearts are very damaged and broken at this point. We just want peace. That’s all that we’re asking for,” says Kadeisha.

“Stand up for my brother. That’s all I’m saying. Stand up for him,” pleaded Kaneisha. “Give us some type of peace, some type of justice.”

If you have any information that could help bring Dawann’s family justice, call Crime Stoppers at 937-222-7867.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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