A 17-year-old in Maryland has been charged with murder months after his high school classmate was reported missing and turned up dead in a shallow creek days later with multiple stab wounds.
Ta’Quawn Deon Henderson, 17, of Germantown, Maryland, was charged through an arrest warrant issued on May 12 with first-degree murder and turned himself in three days later at the Montgomery County Police 1st District Station late Sunday. He is being charged as an adult in the gruesome stabbing death of his fellow classmate at Northwest High School, 17-year-old Jailyn Jones.
Jones’ body was found on Jan. 24 in a small creek in the 18900 block of Grotto Lane in Germantown with multiple stab wounds to his head and torso, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones told reporters at a press conference Monday. The teen had been reported missing days earlier by his mother, and doorbell camera footage showed him leaving his mother’s house around 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 to never return.
The police chief explained that articles of clothing, including a pair of boots and jeans, recovered from the creek contained possible blood evidence and were analyzed by forensics.
The DNA profile showed a mix of Jones’ blood and a second individual. Throughout the course of their investigation, police learned that Jones told several individuals he was going to meet "Tay," determined to be Henderson. A search warrant obtained Henderson’s DNA, which came back as a match as the second contributor on the DNA profile.
Chief Jones said the investigation is ongoing, and he could not yet confirm whether the murder was related to gang activity or bullying. The police department is working with the school district.
"We have seen an increase of violence particularly in the Germantown area recently that’s been really disturbing to some degree," the police chief said, noting a "younger trend" of more homicide suspects being under the age of 18 in Montgomery County. "We want to assure the public we are doing our very best to try to stay on top of the information, but again we need cooperation from the community, and if they know there are some troubling signs going on in certain parts of our community, with youth who are again having sort of these conflicts with each other, we encourage them to contact authorities so that we can do something about this before we have a tragic ending such as we have today."
"It makes no sense that this young man has lost his life," he added.
During what Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy described as an "emotional hearing," Montgomery County District Judge John Moffett ordered Henderson held without bond on the single count of premeditated first-degree murder, which holds a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
"This investigation into this case is not over. There are some logical reasons for us to believe that there may be others involved," McCarthy told reporters Monday. "We always follow the evidence, and we’ll make those determinations. But there are people in this community – either children that are high school students in the schools where these boys both attended or parents who know. And we desperately need people to place some trust in their community and some faith in the state’s attorney’s office and the police department in this community to make us a safe place to live."
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 27, and McCarthy’s office must take action before a grand jury before that date.