Questions remain in slaying of Berkley girl found in car in Detroit alley

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Detroit – The slaying of a 15-year-old suburban runaway found Wednesday in an abandoned car remained under investigation Friday, a top Detroit Police official said.

Second Deputy Police Chief Rudy Harper said no one is in custody in the death of Janiya Brown, but declined to release details of the ongoing investigation which involves suspects whom the victim was believed to be with when she was slain. The girl was reported missing from her home in Berkley last month.

“The homicide unit is actively working the case,” said Harper who said search warrants were expected to be executed at undisclosed locations.

Janiya Brown

Investigators said Brown suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office would not release the cause and manner of death on Friday, and a county spokesperson did not return phone calls or emails for information.

Police are still trying to link Brown and those who might be responsible for her death with an apparent Detroit carjacking. The alleged victim of that carjacking told police he had met Brown on a social media site and she was riding with him Monday when she said she had to stop and use a public restroom. He told his police that when the teenager exited the vehicle, two men armed with handguns confronted and robbed the driver and took his vehicle.

It is unclear from police if that carjacked vehicle was the same car – a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu – in which Brown’s lifeless body was found in an alley in the 8800 block Burnett near the Livernois and Joy Road area. Neighbors told police they thought they had heard gunshots Tuesday night.

Brown, who is from the Cleveland area, had been staying with an aunt in Berkley when she was reported as a runaway around midnight on April 23. She had notified relatives she did not plan on returning to the home of the aunt, who took the girl in because of problems the teenager had in an Ohio foster home. Brown’s mother died a year ago, police said.

Brown, who was last seen wearing a pink hoody and blue pants, messaged the aunt that she wanted to be on her own, police said.

Police said anyone with information should call 1-800-SpeakUp or the police homicide investigators at (313) 596-2260.

(248) 338-0319