YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Police Wednesday found a car they say a suspect in a double homicide was driving, but the suspect was nowhere to be found.
The car, a Kia Sportage, was spotted by a neighbor about 6 a.m. Wednesday parked in front of a home in the 400 block of North Bon Air Avenue on the west side.
Police responded and a man walked out of the house and back into the house. Officers managed to take him into custody then called the Mahoning Valley Crisis Response Team to help them search the house. After waiting for two hours, CRT members breached the door and went inside but the suspect, Jabrae Perry, 44, who has warrants for two counts of aggravated murder, was not there.
Perry is wanted for the murders of Ayanna Mills, 49, and her son Brandon Bell, 28. The warrants were issued late Wednesday morning.
Mills was found inside a home about 10 a.m. Tuesday behind a building in the 1200 block of Salt Springs Road shot to death. Bell was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center to be treated for his wounds but he died a few hours later.
Their deaths are the 21st and 22nd homicides of the year in Youngstown, which saw 28 homicides last year. There have been 99 people shot in the city this year, one more than all of 2020.
Chief of Detectives Capt. Rod Foley said investigators are still trying to piece together the events leading up to the shooting of Mills and her son.
Foley said Perry has some mental issues, and they do not know if the shootings stemmed from those. He said police have gotten a lot of cooperation, especially from family members because they want to see Perry in jail as well as no more violence.
The man who was present Tuesday when police processed the crime scene and who could be heard telling officers the victims were his mother and brother showed up about an hour into the CRT response with two women.
They appeared agitated as they inched closer and closer until one of the detectives who was also present Tuesday, Detective Sgt. Seann Carfolo, came to talk to them and calmly redirected them.
“Come over here and talk to me,” Carfolo said to the man. “Let’s go back here away from the cameras and talk.”
The three walked back with Carfolo and appeared to calm down.
The man also knew one of the CRT negotiators, Youngstown police officer Malik Mostella, who coached him in track when the man was younger. The two hugged as the man cried.
The CRT brought their armored assault vehicle, The Bear, to the scene and several times over the course of about two hours, one of the negotiators broadcasted over a loudspeaker for anyone in the house to come out.
“Come out of the house with your hands up and tell us what happened,” she said. “We are NOT leaving,” she added, emphasizing the “not.”
At the end of two hours, CRT members went inside but no one was there. They did find two dogs in the basement which were taken by the Mahoning County Dog Warden.
Jeff Saluga of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, who was supervising the CRT, said the house was a shambles. There were conflicting reports of whether it was vacant and there was clutter and other litter throughout, he said.
“They were deplorable conditions. Deplorable,” he said. He said the home was ankle deep in dog feces, although he added it appeared the dogs were well taken care of.
Foley said the man who was there when the first patrol officers showed up will probably not face any charges, but detectives are questioning him to see if he can give them a clue as to Perry’s whereabouts.
The sweltering heat also had an impact. When CRT members took off their gear after the house was cleared, they were covered in sweat.
Police dusted the car for prints, then had it towed for evidence.
Tips leading to Perry’s arrest and prosecution are eligible for a monetary reward. Call Crime Stoppers at 330-746-CLUE or 330-742-8YPD with any leads or tips. Tips may be left anonymously.