What happened to Keyona Griffin? Everything you need to know

What happened to Keyona Griffin? Everything you need to know

Keyona Griffin made headlines in 2019 after she and her aunt became victims of a double homicide. Reverend Robert Dean hosted a homeless man, Derrell Demon Brown, at his Grand Rapids church in Michigan several years back without monitoring the man's behavior. The church's temporary tenant would later allegedly kill his girlfriend, Cherletta Baber-Bey, 47, and her niece, Keyona Griffin, 25, on 13 March 2019.

Keyona Griffin
Keyona and Cherletta died from gunshot wounds before the police arrived at the scene of the crime. Photo: @keyona.griffin.9 (modified by author)
Source: UGC


He had been living at Jacquline Baber-Bey's home on 553 Sheldon Avenue SE with Cherletta Baber-Bey and Keyona when the police received a 911 call from Keyona. Despite her act of bravery, Keyona and Cherletta died from gunshot wounds before the police arrived at the scene. Although the Kent County prosecutors issued arrest warrants some years back, the police are still looking for the prime suspect, Derrell.

Profile summary

Full nameKeyona Griffin
Date of birth8 March 1994
Date of death13 March 2019
Age25 years old (at the time of death)
Place of birthUnited States of America
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorBlack
ParentsJohn and Ongah Griffin
SiblingStanford Cummings ll
Marital statusSingle

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Who was Keyona Griffin?

Keyona Griffin was a victim of a double homicide in Michigan, USA, in March 2019. The 25-year-old African-American was born on 8 March 1994 in America.

Who are Keyona Griffin's parents?

She was the daughter of Ongah Griffin (mother) and Johnny Griffin (father).

Did Keyona Griffin have any siblings?

She grew up alongside her brother, Stanford Cummings ll. He found her lying dead on the floor of an upstairs bedroom and made a second 911 call to alert the police.

Keyona Griffin
Keyona Griffin called the Grand Rapids police dispatch and whispered a request for help. Photo: @keyona.griffin.9 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Keyona Griffin's story

Keyona Griffin called the Grand Rapids police dispatch at 10:25 am on Wednesday, 13 March 2019, and whispered a request for help:

Can you just hurry up, please? … He's tryin' to kill me. He already killed my auntie. Can you hurry up, please?

The dispatcher asked:

OK, ma’am. I’ll start the police that way. Can you tell me what your name is?

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Seconds before Keyona Griffin's call disconnected, she whispered:


About seven minutes and forty-one seconds after Keyona Griffin’s call disconnected, three Grand Rapid Police officers arrived at the apartment. They had a bodycam on to show they couldn't get into the house or have any contact with anyone on arrival.

They left three minutes and forty-two seconds after several failed attempts to access the apartment. About two hours and eighteen minutes later, Keyona's brother Sanford Cummings ll made another emergency call from the same house.

Keyona Griffin
Her brother called the Grand Rapids police dispatch when he found her dead. Photo: @keyona.griffin.9 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

How did Keyona Griffin die?

Cummings called the Grand Rapids police dispatch when he found her dead, with four gunshot wounds, including once in the face.

He was heard crying on the call while pleading:

Come to 553 Sheldon … There’s blood everywhere, and my sister’s not moving...553 Sheldon SE. It’s a yellow house. Please hurry up. My sister’s not moving...Oh, my Lord, please. Keyona, please wake up. Please.

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What happened to Keyona Griffin's aunt?

The Grand Rapids police returned to 553 Sheldon seven minutes later and found a second body. Keyona's aunt, Cherletta, was lying on her bed under a blanket.

A tablet was playing, and earbuds were lodged in her ears. It appeared she was shot in the back of the head as she lay watching an iPad propped up on a pillow beside her.

Inside Cherletta's bedroom, authorities discovered an empty Hi-Point gun box and a box of ammunition that had been hurriedly thrown away. Police investigations later connected the Hi-Point pistol found at the murder site to her boyfriend, Derrell.

Target 8 investigators accessed the police report and Keyona Griffin's 911 audio in October 2021 through the Freedom of Information Act to create awareness of the four-year-long world manhunt for the murderer.

Who killed Keyona Griffin?

It is believed that she was killed by Derrell Demon Brown (also known as Jay). The then-45-year-old was dating her aunt, Cherletta Baber-Bey. At the time of her death, Keyona was living with the three in the house of her grandmother, Jacqueline Baber-Bey. She had considered moving out because she did not like seeing Derrell daily but died before doing so.

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Keyona Griffin
Derrell, the prime suspect in Cherletta and Keyona's murder, went missing after the incident. Photo: @keyona.griffin.9 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Derrell, the prime suspect in Cherletta and Keyona's murder, went missing after the incident. He had been living with them for at least two years when the killings happened in Jacqueline's house. On that day, Jacqueline had gone to work at 8 am.

According to Cherletta's family, they knew Derrell as "Jay," which, the police soon learned, was a fake name. The family described Jay as Cherletta's first real boyfriend. The couple kept to themselves and spent most of their time in their bedroom.

While talking about their relationship, Ongah Griffin, Cherletta's sister, said:

We didn’t have any reason to think this man would (commit murder). Some people say (Brown) was a little strange. He was a little different. But they said that about my sister too. She wasn’t a social person. Just because you’re quiet and a little different than everyone else doesn’t mean you’re a murderer.

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Ongah’s only problem with Cherletta's boyfriend was his jobless status. She said:

I didn’t like him because he didn’t work. He should have been, but he wasn’t, and my sister was footing the bill for everything. So that was an issue for me.

Jay did not have a job, did not use Facebook, and Cherletta's family did not know any of his family or have his phone number. All they knew was that Jay had been jailed in the past for failing to pay child support.

Keyona Griffin
Darrell and Charlotte kept to themselves and spent most of their time in their bedroom. Photo: @GrandRapidsPD (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Inside the empty Hi-Point gun box, the cops found in Cherletta's bedroom was a gun's serial number and purchase permit linked to a woman as a pistol's buyer. The officers ran the name and serial number and discovered the woman had reported her stolen gun in July 2017.

In 2018, the same woman had filed a complaint regarding harassing cellphone texts from an ex-boyfriend known as Jay. The woman had also reported that Jay had been commanding during their relationship.

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The police later discovered that Derrell Demon Brown had quite a lengthy criminal history in Ottawa and Kent counties, including felony assault and domestic violence.

He physically assaulted his previous girlfriend, which ended in a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in 2005. Derrell bound his then-girlfriend with cords, kicked her in the face, urinated on her, gagged her, and doused her with lighter fluid. All the while, her four children — one of whom is also Derrell's child — were sleeping upstairs.

The woman got away the following morning by getting on her daughter’s school bus and asking the driver to take off. She said he had two guns during the attack and told her he would kill her and then kill himself.

The detectives discovered letters in Cherletta's closet, which she and Derrell had exchanged when he was detained. The man allegedly returned to his violent ways with Cherletta.

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Keyona Griffin
The USA Marshals and Michigan authorities believe Keyona's murder suspect may be receiving assistance from family members and associates to escape arrest. Photo: @keyona.griffin.9 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Rev. Robert Dean recalled how he received a phone call from a woman who’d been dating his church’s temporary resident. She arrived at the church office and explained that Brown had forbidden her to talk to any men, something her job required.

Cherletta pleaded with the reverend to counsel Brown, hoping he could convince him to be less possessive. Brown barged into the pastor's office and lunged at her as if he was about to hit her.

Where is Keyona Griffin's killer?

Derrell Demon Brown, the main suspect in Cherletta and Keyona Griffin's case, is yet to be apprehended. The USA Marshals and Michigan authorities believe he fled the state after the murders and may be receiving assistance from family members and associates to escape arrest.

Derrell has family in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. He also uses nicknames Darryl Robinson, Carter Brown, Derrick Brown, Michael Richardson, Marcus Wright, and Jay.

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In July 2021, Brown was listed as one of the country's 15 most wanted criminals by the US Marshals in a bid to intensify their search. Also, a reward of $25,000 was promised to anyone with details that could help the cops track and arrest him.

Keyona Griffin
Keyona's murder suspect was listed among the most wanted criminals by the US Marshals in 2021. Photo: @keyona.griffin.9 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

What happened to Keyona Griffin's grandmother?

At around 9 am on Saturday, 11 July 2020, firefighters pulled Jacqueline Baber-Bey, 65, and her grandson, Emareyon Cummings, 5, from her house, 553 Sheldon Avenue, southeast Grand Rapids, in Michigan. Emareyon died at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, but Jacqueline was pronounced dead at the scene.

The house that burnt down was the same place where Keyona and Cherletta's double-homicide incident occurred in March 2019 double-homicide occurred.

Facts about Keyona Griffin

  • She had just turned 25 when she was murdered.
  • She was living at her grandmother's house when she was killed.
  • She was close to her family but distant from Darrell.

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Keyona Griffin was full of dreams that were cut short at age 25. The police are yet to arrest Derrell Demon Brown, the man who allegedly killed her and her aunt. Many still hope and pray that the real murderer will be found and brought to book.

Yen.com.gh listed famous movies whose directors got imprisoned. Several directors have been charged for accidents that harmed their production team and cast members while shooting the films.

Some blamed themselves for embarking on projects that would land them in jail. Discover the events that took place that landed the directors behind bars.

Source: YEN.com.gh

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