DEKALB COUNTY, GA (WGCL) – Missing Clark Atlanta University student Alexis Crawford’s body was found in a DeKalb County park Friday afternoon. Two people, Crawford’s roommate and the roommate’s boyfriend, have been arrested for the senior’s murder.
In a November 8 press conference held at Atlanta Police Headquarters, Police Chief Erika Shields stood before a podium and stated, “I am so sorry we could not provide a better ending.”
Family members and loved ones of Crawford had held out hope for a safe return of the young scholar who was deeply cherished by many. Instead, prayers were met with the heartbreaking news of the 21-year-old being found alone, laying in Exchange Park in Decatur.
“I love you, baby. Just come home,” pleaded Bobby Wright, Crawford’s father, just four days before the body was discovered.
On October 27th Crawford filed a police report with APD stating that her roommate Jordyn Jones’ boyfriend, identified as a 21-year-old Barron Brantley, had kissed and touched her against her will.
The police report of the alleged incident states, Crawford, the roommate, and the roommate’s boyfriend were drinking the night of the incident. Crawford stated Brantley rubbed his hands on her shoulder and kissed her neck. When she questioned him about his actions, he claimed to have thought he was touching his girlfriend.
Crawford then left to go to her room, Brantley followed after her into her room and then her bathroom. Jones, 21, told police she went to the bathroom door, and repeatedly knocked on it until her boyfriend came out. When he exited, his shirt was off and he stated he did not sleep with the victim before leaving the apartment in his girlfriend’s car.
Crawford was seen lying on the bathroom floor only wearing bra. She told her roommate she had passed out and did not recall Brantley being in the bathroom with her prior to blacking out. She was taken to Grady Hospital where a rape kit was administered.
She went missing three days later.
On November 4 Atlanta Police and K-9 officers canvassed the area surrounding Crawford’s Heritage Station apartment. Inside, her cell phone, ID and debit card were missing; left behind were here cell phone charger and key to her apartment.
“Everything that you have is important at this time because we need to bring Miss Crawford back home safely to her family,” said Capt. Jacquelyn Ginn-Villaroel at the time of the search.
Earlier in the week, police released October 30th surveillance photos of the Clark Atlanta University senior at a liquor store on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. It was the last time she had been seen outside her apartment prior to her death.
Jones, the roommate, told police she took Crawford to the liquor store around 11:30 p.m., but the next day Crawford was gone.
“Whether it’s human trafficking, whether it’s God forbid homicide or just a missing persons, she’s been hurt somewhere and is just laying there. You have got to locate her as fast as possible,” said CSI Investigator Sheryl “Mac” McCollum when asked what her thoughts were on the student’s missing status. “It is just so important that we keep her name out there, we keep her face out there,” added McCollum.
On November 8, Shields stated one of the suspects had led investigators to Exchange Park where Crawford’s body was found.
Brantley has a checkered past dating back to 2015 with charges ranging from robbery, family violence, criminal trespass, cruelty to children, hindering persons making emergency telephone call, simple battery and theft by taking.
He was most arrested and booked into Smyrna Jail on February 1, 2019 where he spent two weeks for a family violence incident. On Friday November 8, he was arrested and booked at Fulton County Jail where he is charged with murder.
The CBS46 Bulldog asked APD who was responsible for Crawford’s death, they simply replied, “both [Jones and Brantley] are being charged.”
“This is the worst day in the life of Alexix’ parents, and it’s just heartbreaking,” said Rev. Markell Hutchins speaking on behalf of the family.
In the wake of the tragic news, Clark Atlanta University President George T. French released a statement saying in part:
“Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with her family and with everyone who knew and loved Alexis. While details of the investigation are still coming to light, please know I along with the rest of the CAU administration are here with you, our students, faculty, staff and CAU alumni.
Tonight, we mourn together.”
Students on campus told CBS46 reporter Jamie Kennedy, “Now it is time for the community around here to wrap its arms around the little brother of Alexis [who is a freshman at the school].”
Additional grief counselors have been made available to students as they navigate through the tragedy.
By Angelina Velasquez