The mother of a Maryland 17-year-old who went missing for three days earlier this year before turning up stabbed to death in a shallow creek is speaking out for the first time since her son’s high school classmate was arrested and charged this week with murder in the brutal slaying.
Alexis McDaniel, the mother of homicide victim Jai’lyn Jones, was escorted from a Montgomery County District courtroom following a heated exchange with the family of Ta’Quawn Deon Henderson. The grieving woman shouted, "I’m glad they got you," toward the monitor showing the 17-year-old suspect from Germantown, Maryland, appearing virtually for his bond hearing this week, FOX 5 DC reported.
"Anger, pity, so many things were going through my mind. Really, I just want answers that I know I might not ever get. I just – I just want answers," McDaniel said in an on-camera interview afterward.
"A lot of children are murdered every day, but Jai’lyn was – he was slaughtered," McDaniel added. "He was mutilated. Animals are killed with more integrity than what they gave Jai’lyn."
Jones was reported missing by his mother on Jan. 21, and doorbell camera footage showed the teen leaving their home at around 4:30 p.m. to never return. Three days later, his body was found beaten and stabbed multiple times in his head and torso in a small creek in Montgomery County, police said.
Investigators learned Jones told several people that he was going to meet "Tay," determined to be Henderson, a classmate at Northwest High School. A search warrant obtained his DNA, which came back as a match to blood found on boots and jeans recovered with Jones’ body, police said.
McDaniel told FOX 5 she believes her son was killed as a result of bullying at the high school. Jones’ mother said she found a social media account with her son’s picture mocking his homicide.
One Instagram post shared the school principal’s Jan. 25 letter to parents announcing Jones’ death and remembering the 12th grade student for his "large personality, infectious smile, and overall amazing spirit." The next slide shows a poem that begins with the line "I’m dead as hell," and describes Jones as a "snitch," before suggesting he was "found under a bridge" and "got kicked in the head."
McDaniel said she asked the school to facilitate a meeting with Henderson’s parents in February.
Police have not disclosed a motive, and said they are still investigating whether the murder could be related to gang activity or bullying.
"It starts with the parents. I think the faculty and staff, who are already overwhelmed, I get that, need to pay more attention to the parents as well as the students. We put so much emphasis on the students but don’t forget, they are children," McDaniel said. "They are growing up in the world we are giving them."
Henderson, who is being charged as an adult, was ordered held without bond on a single count of premeditated first-degree murder. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities pleaded with parents, students or anyone in the community to come forward with information to determine whether Henderson acted alone or if other individuals were involved in Jones’ death.
During the bond hearing, prosecutors told the judge that Henderson had not attended school for months since Jones was found dead, to which his parents shouted to the courtroom that was not true, FOX 5 reported. The prosecutor also referred to the teen’s possible use of PCP, an illegal hallucinogenic street drug used for its mind-altering effects.