Clark Atlanta student died of asphyxiation; second suspect arrested

Roommate, roommate’s boyfriend now accused of killing Alexis Crawford
The family of Alexis Crawford shared this photo of her with the media. A week after her disappearance, Atlanta police reporterd the Clark Atlanta student’s body was found.

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The family of Alexis Crawford shared this photo of her with the media. A week after her disappearance, Atlanta police reporterd the Clark Atlanta student’s body was found.

UPDATE [5:45 p.m.]: Funeral arrangements have been announced.

“I've spent most of today in Athens, Georgia, consoling the family of Alexis Crawford and assisting them with the unthinkable task of planning her funeral. The family is simply devastated and heartbroken that their beloved 'Lexi' was so senselessly murdered," said Rev. Markel Hutchins, a spokesman for the family.

Crawford's funeral will be held at noon Saturday at the Hill Chapel Baptist Church, 1692 W. Hancock Ave., Athens. The family asks that any cards or financial contributions be made directly to Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home, the metro Atlanta-based funeral home handling arrangements.

Hutchins added, “The Crawford family is truly grateful and encouraged by the outpouring of love and concern they have received from across the country. Please keep them in your positive thoughts and prayers.”

UPDATE [3:30 p.m.]: A Clark Atlanta University student whose body was discovered Friday in a DeKalb County park died of asphyxiation, authorities said.

Now, two suspects have been charged with the murder of Alexis Janae Crawford, 21.

Jordyn Jones, Crawford’s roommate, and Jones’ boyfriend Barron Brantley are in custody, police said Saturday. Both are being held without bond at the Fulton County Jail, records show.

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

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Investigators believe it was Crawford’s roommate and the roommate’s boyfriend, Jordyn Jones and Barron Brantley, both 21, who are responsible for Crawford’s death, Shields said. Crawford and Jones shared a McDaniel Street apartment, about a mile from the Clark Atlanta campus. On Friday, Crawford’s body was found about 11 miles away at a DeKalb County park located off Columbia Drive, Shields said. An autopsy conducted by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Crawford died by asphyxiation.

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

“The case has come to one of the saddest conclusions possible and has been absolutely heartbreaking,” Shields said during a press conference. “To Alexis’ family , our hearts go out to you. I am so truly sorry that we could not provide you with a better ending.”

MORE: Family of missing student pleads for safe return

Investigators have not yet released a motive. Three days before she was last seen alive, however, Crawford reported being the victim of an alleged sexual assault, according to police. Brantley was the suspect in the Oct. 26 incident, which allegedly happened at the apartment Crawford shared with Jones while the three were consuming alcohol, the report states.

On Oct. 30, Crawford spoke to her family for the last time.

Alexandria Crawford, Alexis’ sister, told police they last texted about 8:45 p.m. Oct. 30.

"What are you doing for the weekend?" Alexis had texted.

"Nothing," Alexandria Crawford replied.

Alexis didn’t respond to other text messages that night, her family told police.

Later that night, Crawford and her roommate went to a liquor store. Jones told police she and Crawford hadn’t been speaking since the alleged sexual assault, but Crawford had asked Jones to take her to the store. A surveillance camera at D&M Package on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard captured what is believed to be the last photo of Crawford, according to Atlanta police.

The following morning, Jones said she left for class and Crawford wasn’t in the apartment. On Nov. 1, Crawford’s family reported her missing, and Atlanta police began an investigation.

In the days that followed, Crawford’s family had pleaded for her safe return.

“Baby, I love you, baby,” her father said through tears during a press conference Monday at Atlanta police headquarters. “Just come home, baby. Just come home.”

Instead, one of the suspects led investigators to Crawford’s body, Shields said. No details were released on a possible cause of death.

Late Friday, Brantley was booked into the Fulton County jail and charged with murder, records showed. His arrest violated his bond condition for a previous February arrest on theft, battery and cruelty to children charges, booking records showed. Saturday morning, Brantley waived his first court appearance. He will remain in jail until his next court appearance on Nov. 22.

Jones has also been charged with murder. She was arrested Saturday, Atlanta police said.

In a letter to the Clark Atlanta community, university President George French called Crawford’s death “the worst possible news” and an isolated, off-campus incident.

“Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with her family and with everyone who knew and loved Alexis,” French said in the letter, posted on social media.

Grief counselors were available, French said.

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