Horror in LA Ends With 3 Dead, Including Baby Found on 405

Police believe mother killed boyfriend, pushed daughters out of moving car
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2024 7:05 AM CDT
Mother Kills Boyfriend, Pushes Kids Out of Moving Car in LA
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Daniel Tadevosyan)

In the early hours of Monday, police were called to the scenes of three deaths in three separate areas in and around Los Angeles. By Tuesday, they'd figured out how those three incidents were connected in an unimaginable way: A mother apparently murdered her boyfriend, then threw her two daughters out of a moving car on a freeway before ultimately dying herself in a crash miles away. The timeline, as reported by ABC 7 and NBC News:

  • 3:40am: Neighbors of Danielle Cherakiyah Johnson, 34, and her boyfriend Jaelen Chaney, 29, heard loud fighting coming from the couple's shared Woodland Hills apartment in the wee hours of Monday. By around 3:40am, police believe Johnson had stabbed Chaney to death in front of her children. She is believed to have fled the scene with her children, damaging a gate at the apartment complex in the process.
  • 4:30am: Johnson was driving her two daughters, a 9-year-old and an 8-month-old, northbound on the 405 freeway in a Porsche Cayenne when, police believe, she slowed the car in the Westchester area near Centinela Avenue, opened the passenger door, and told her older daughter, who was holding the baby, to get out. The girl did not, at which point police say Johnson is believed to have shoved the girls out of the still-moving car. The 9-year-old lost her grip on the baby as she hit the ground, and the infant was fatally struck by another car. Her older sister was injured as well. Police were called to the scene by drivers who saw the children.

  • 5am: Johnson, who was at this point in Redondo Beach, plowed into a tree while driving more than 100mph. She did not survive.
  • 7:30am: Neighbors of the couple left their apartment to find a a trail of blood in the hallway, blood on the walls, and more blood inside the couple's apartment, to which the door had been left open. They called 911, and dispatchers asked them to check inside the apartment, where they found Chaney's body.
Johnson was in the process of divorcing the 9-year-old's father; it is not yet clear whether Chaney was the baby's father, but he and Johnson had been involved for years. Police are asking anyone with information, or who was on the 405 freeway in that area at the time of the incident, to get in touch with California Highway Patrol at (323) 644-9550 during business hours or (323) 259-3200 after business hours. (More California stories.)

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