CLEVELAND — An Amber Alert ends in tragedy as a Cleveland woman, her one-year-old daughter and their suspected kidnapper are found dead, in what investigators believe was a double murder-suicide.
The bodies of 19-year-old Latasha Jackson, her daughter Chaniya Wynn and their alleged killer, 35-year-old Thomas Lorde, were discovered in the garage of a vacant property in the 7000 block of Union Avenue, just before 3:00 a.m. Sunday.
Fox 8 News has obtained the last known images of the victims, captured just moments before the kidnapping unfolded.
Surveillance cameras were rolling outside a carry-out on Saturday morning, as Latasha Jackson pushed a stroller with little Chaniya inside. Joining them on the trip to the store was Latasha’s 14-year-old brother, David Thomas.
Little did they know that a short time after the video was captured, Latasha and Chaniya would be abducted at gunpoint, by Latasha’s boyfriend, Thomas Lorde, a convicted sexual predator who had threatened to kill her baby after the child’s father allegedly smashed Lorde’s windshield with a brick.
David Thomas told Fox 8, “I really didn’t think he would actually do that, though. I didn’t actually think he would end up killing my one-year-old niece and my sister. I didn’t think he had it in him.”
According to employees at the carry-out, Latasha Jackson showed no signs that she felt impending danger or was afraid of Thomas Lorde, a man she had dated for a couple of months after a chance meeting at a bus stop.
“She was laughing. She was smiling, and she left, and she said, ‘Bye,’ you know,” said clerk Mike Mansour.
But the victim’s brother said when they left the store, Thomas Lorde was waiting for them.
“He walked up. He was like, ‘Check this out.’ He pulled out a gun and pointed it at me, and told me to go on, and I was there looking around, and that’s when he grabbed the stroller from my sister, told my sister to walk, and he called her a ‘B,’ said David Thomas. “And that’s when I walked up the street, and I went back to the house and called the police.”
That phone call set off an Amber Alert across Greater Cleveland, and prompted the FBI and Cleveland police to offer a $10,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of the two victims. Then came the discovery of the bodies of Latasha Jackson, her beloved Chaniya and Thomas Lorde, in the garage of the vacant property, a short distance from the carry-out.
Investigators said it appeared Lorde killed Chaniya and Latasha, and then himself.
“I believe my sister; she was a fighter. She wasn’t going to let it happen,” said David Thomas. “I believe she tried to fight, and that’s how she ended up dying.”
Those who knew Latasha Jackson and little Chaniya are stunned by the level of Thomas Lorde’s brutality, in what they believe was his quest for control and revenge.
Jean Bullock, who is Latasha’s aunt and Chaniya’s great-aunt, told Fox 8, “He’s cold, and he’s heartless, and everyone knew that.”
“It’s so sad this happen because nobody think it would happen like that,” added Mike Mansour. “He killed the baby; for what? You know?”
In a strange twist, the garage where the bodies were found on Sunday, is just a couple of blocks away from a field on East 71th Street, where the body of 11-year-old kidnapping victim Shakira Johnson was found in 2003. Her murder remains an open investigation.