1 week after Clarkston kidnapping, police have no suspects and a man is dead

Deonna Bray (left) speaks with Clarkston police Chief Christine Hudson (second from right) during the search for Bray's missing 1-year old, Blaise Barnett. It's been one week since the mother and child were reunited, and Clarkston police said they have not identified any suspects.
Caption
Deonna Bray (left) speaks with Clarkston police Chief Christine Hudson (second from right) during the search for Bray's missing 1-year old, Blaise Barnett. It's been one week since the mother and child were reunited, and Clarkston police said they have not identified any suspects.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

It’s been one week, and no one knows what happened to Blaise Barnett in the more than 36 hours between his kidnapping and his reunion with his mother at Clarkston police headquarters.

Investigators are still following leads and have not identified any suspects in the 1-year-old’s abduction, a police spokesman said Wednesday. The case has spawned a separate investigation in DeKalb County, where a 60-year-old man was killed when a large search party went knocking on doors in his condominium complex, looking for the missing child.

A police report obtained Wednesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides some insight as to how the search was interrupted by homicide, and it suggests the 1-year-old’s distraught relatives were not the first to fire shots.

ExploreMan killed at DeKalb condo during search for missing Clarkston 1-year-old

Delarius Miller, 38, and his sister, 34-year-old Santana Miller, cousins of the missing child, are accused of malice murder in the Nov. 10 shooting at the condemned Brannon Hill complex that killed Aziz Hassan. In the report, members of Hassan’s household indicated he believed the search party was trying to steal the rims off his vehicle and opened fire when they began making threats.

The Millers were with a large group of people going door to door looking for their baby cousin, according to the report. It had been nearly 24 hours since the child was taken along with his family’s SUV from outside his Clarkston apartment on Montreal Road. The stolen vehicle was abandoned at the complex hours earlier.

Blaise and his car seat were not inside, and the family was growing frantic.

ExploreCops find stolen SUV, but Clarkston 1-year-old still missing

Hassan was shot about 11:40 p.m., and police arrived to a chaotic scene. Multiple people called 911, and several vehicles peeled out of the complex. Others, including the Miller siblings, stayed to speak with police.

Hassan was lying dead at the top of a stairwell, just outside his condo door. A 25-year-old resident told police Hassan had successfully chased off two men he saw standing near his Ford Escape earlier in the evening, but grabbed his gun when the men returned 15 minutes later.

The 25-year-old said he heard the confrontation but did not see the shooting, according to the report. Santana Miller told police her relatives were speaking with a downstairs neighbor, looking for Blaise, when Hassan confronted them with a gun and fired several rounds.

Both she and her brother returned fire, the woman admitted to investigators. Only Delarius Miller was arrested Wednesday, and police arrested Santana Miller four days later. They remain jailed without bond in DeKalb County.

DeKalb County police confirmed Hassan had nothing to do with Blaise’s kidnapping. The toddler was found Thursday, less than a mile from home, when a Clarkston resident went out to her driveway and spotted him inside her car. He appeared to be unharmed.

ExploreAfter 36 hours, Clarkston 1-year-old found within a mile of home

Investigators have not learned anything more about those missing 36 hours in the week since, Clarkston police Sgt. Dustin Bulcher told the AJC on Wednesday.

“We are literally in the same boat as the same day we found him,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 404-557-8956. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.

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