17-year-old arrested in kidnapping of 1-year-old Clarkston boy

Deonna Bray, right, and Jada Miller wait on news on Bray’s missing son, 1-year old Blaise Barnett, who was taken Nov. 10 when his family's car was stolen from outside a Clarkston apartment. (JOHN SPINK / JOHN.SPINK@AJC.COM)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

caption arrowCaption
Deonna Bray, right, and Jada Miller wait on news on Bray’s missing son, 1-year old Blaise Barnett, who was taken Nov. 10 when his family's car was stolen from outside a Clarkston apartment. (JOHN SPINK / JOHN.SPINK@AJC.COM)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

A 17-year-old has been arrested on theft charges in connection with the kidnapping of a 1-year-old boy from outside his Clarkston apartment in November.

Blaise Barnett was missing for more than 36 hours before he was discovered Nov. 11 sitting inside a vehicle parked in a Clarkston resident’s driveway, less than a mile from his Montreal Road apartment where he was taken along with his family’s SUV. The abduction triggered a Levi’s Call, Georgia’s version of an Amber Alert, and a frantic search that involved multiple local and state authorities, as well as the FBI.

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Clarkston police on Friday announced the arrest of Dieu Doumdje on a charge of theft by taking. Doumdje, a Towers High School student, was arrested Thursday at Freedom Middle School and is being held in the county jail, according to officials.

“The Clarkston Police Department is currently still actively investigating this case and conducting interviews to determine if any other suspects are involved,” Clarkston police spokesperson Sgt. Dustin Bulcher said in a news release.

The kidnapping attracted national attention, and until the child was found police had no credible leads. His family’s Ford Explorer was found abandoned Nov. 10 at the condemned Brannon Hill condominium complex, but Blaise and his car seat were not inside. Later that night, a large search party went door-to-door at the complex looking for the child, and a 60-year-old man was shot and killed.

The shooting victim, Aziz Hassan, was not connected to the abduction, according to DeKalb County police, the agency investigating the homicide case. Delarius Miller, 38, and his sister, 34-year-old Santana Miller, cousins of the abducted child, are accused of malice murder in Hassan’s death.

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According to a police 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 are accused of returning fire, killing him.

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Since Blaise was reunited with his mother, police have offered no additional details on where they believe the child was being held. Photos were released of personal items left in the Barnett family’s vehicle, including a pair of denim shorts, that investigators believed belonged to the kidnappers.

Doumdje is the first arrest publicly announced in the case. He was approached Thursday by administrators and a school resource officer after being discovered on the Freedom Middle School campus without authorization, according to a DeKalb County School District spokesperson. At the time of his arrest, authorities did not know Doumdje was connected to the case, Bulcher told reporters from outside the police station. He was taken into custody by school police after they learned of his active warrant, the DeKalb spokesperson said.

Doumdje was tied to the case after the family’s SUV was processed by the GBI, Bulcher said. Authorities were able to obtain his fingerprint from a piece of mail that was unrelated to Blaise’s family, he added.

Clarkston police said Friday they were not aware if other charges against Doumdje were pending.

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