15, 1997 -
April 28, 2001
A Grave Memorial
||Born May 15, 1997,
Erica Michelle Marie Green was brought into this world within the
of a prison in Oklahoma. Born to two parents Larry and Michelle green,
with drug problems Erica was taken from her mother and given to a woman
Betty Brown. Erica rarely saw her real father and eventually would be
her mother when she got out of prison.
years later, on April
28, 2001 when the decapitated body of a child was found, no one would
who the child was for four years. Attempts to discover who the child
were not successful, though police were able to rule out the
the body was that of a missing 2 year old named Teekah Lewis, from
cross was placed near
the entrance of the wooded area where the child's body was found. Six
into the woods was the body of the, then unknown, child.
2001 when a computer
generated sketch didn't bring any identification even with the case
featured on "America's Most Wanted" three times, a bust was created
the child's skull by artist Frank Bender from Philadelphia.
since her birth until her mother and her stepfather Harrell Johnson
her to Kansas City, Missouri in April of 2001. The three moved in with
Harrell's cousin, Lawanda Driskell who said that Erica was homesick for
Betty Brown and cried a lot.
"I may be
I feel that baby was crying wanting
to come home
probably couldn't stop her from crying."
say later that
Erica had been beaten by her stepfather, quite often:
hear her screaming
in the back bedroom."
would "beat the child for crying, for
she wouldn't eat, whatever"
said that at one
point she heard Harrell tell Michelle
better go take care
to do something bad."
true, why didn't
Lawanda call the police or an agency designed to help abused children?
Another story of people failing to protect a child and another story of
a mother allowing her new boyfriend/husband to abuse her child to
Just days after arriving in Kansas City, Erica Michelle Marie Green
be dead even though it could have been prevented if someone had cared
to help her. A week later there was a loud bang from Erica's bedroom
for two days after that, Harrell kept the bedroom door closed and said
that Erica was sick. Lawanda is sure this is when Erica was killed.
of the then
unknown child was found, her head was found near the same area, wrapped
in a trash bag. Police concluded that the head had been cut off with
clippers. Michelle Green helped hand out fliers about the girl and
at a candle light vigil that was held for her.
left Kansas city and told Lawanda she was returning Erica to Betty
Several weeks later, Lawanda told Michelle that she thought the unknown
child looked like Erica, to which Michelle replied"
I have Erica
here with me"
had always been able to come up with excuses for any situation and
just believed her.
Doe was laid to rest in Memorial Park Cemetery
not far from the area where her body was found. Below is a picture of
headstone she was given at that time.
July 15, 2003,
the body of
this precious little Angel was exhumed and taken to Louisiana so that
could be sculpted in order to get a better likeness of the child during
life. Police then circulated images of what the child looked like.
2005 the police
as well as community activists received a tip from a man saying he had
not seen his granddaughter for several years and that he called in
referring to a
ad that had been placed by Alonzo Washington who is a community
and missing child advocate in Kansas City. The man also said he knew
the missing child was and who had killed her. Then on May 5, 2005 the
announce that they knew who Precious doe wass:
May 2005, a
man who said
he had not seen his granddaughter for several years responded to a
ad placed by Alonzo Washington, a Kansas City based community activist
and missing-child advocate.
have known for four years as Precious Doe, has a name. Erica Michelle
Kansas City Police Department
by a retired post office work, Army Sergeant name Billy Stegall:
a day I have
been looking for. I just asked the Lord
to say who
she is so
she could be at peace, because she
I wasn't at peace"
back to that
site many times in order to pray.
Washington, a community
activist, had never
given up the search for who the unknown child was. When asked: "Mr.
why was it so important for you to relentlessly pursue answers in this
case over the last four years, to not let the story of this little girl
fade away," he said this:
"Well, it was important because
in this city
I wanted to make this case different. You know, we're
used to homicides and that's a sad
in itself. However, when you find a child
decapitated and you throw
away the head
and the boy like it's garbage...I wanted to create
memorials, wanted to
do vigils to make, uh, everybody in this city always remember that
something this horrible has
happened and to
always search for justice for this child."
Alonzo Washington - Community
Johnson was arrested in
Oklahoma and charged
with murder and endangering the life of a child. Harrell Johnson was
being held in Oklahoma, though no charges were immediately brought
him. At that time, police say that Michelle told them Harrell had
Erica with a kick to her head and then had decapitated her with the
the last four years every
time I walked,
uh, drive by that
area, I just continue to
are you gonna
provide some closure to us?
Riley - Kansas City
October of 2008, Michelle Johnson,
who was 29
years old, testified in court against Harrell Johnson. Michelle said
she had know that her daughter needed medical attention and that fear
going to jail caused her to allow her to just lay there and die.
said that she had watched as Harell kicked Erica in the head and she
to the floor. Harrell was high on drugs at the time:
"He just picked up his feet and
on the side of the face. I
said, 'What the
do?' It shook him out of his
then picked Erica up and put
her into a
cold bath in hopes of reviving her. The cold bath didn't work so she
Erica on the bedroom floor. At times during her testimony, Michelle
back her tears as she talked about the last hours of the life of her
who she called "Little E".
said it seemed like Erica
laid on the floor
for days, though Harrell said it was only a few hours. Both of them
that if they did not get her to a hospital, she would die, that they
Erica was in need of help and they were afraid to get it for her:
"We wasn't going to get it.
Because we both
was on the run from
continued to lay on the floor
without any help:
"I was on the floor with her. I
her favorite song to her,
which was a Barney
song. "I kissed
her. I was asking God to let
to take me"
Erica died, they waited until
it was dark to
dispose of her body. They didn't want any of the neighbors to see what
they were doing. Michelle went with Harrell as he carried Erica's body
along with a bag and the hedge clippers into the woods. Michelle could
not explain the reason why they took her clothes off:
"He handed her clothes to me
and I left"
says that she was not there
decapitated Erica. According to her, Harrell told her later that he had
decapitated her and put her head into the trash at a church. Later,
returned and moved Erica's head from the trash to the woods fearing
members of the church would find it.
defense rested after not calling
and though they did admit that Harrell kicked Erica in the head, they
that he should not be convicted of first degree murder since it was not
something he did with premeditation.
Johnson was convicted of
first degree murder
and endangering the welfare of a child as well as abusing a child.
John Torrence gave him a sentence of four years and 25 years for the
charges of endangering a child and abusing a child. On October 8, 2008
Harrell Johnson was again in court and found guilty of first degree
Harrell was sentenced to life in prison which will, with the first
consecutively with the life sentence. He will never be eligible for
Johnson plead guilty to
second degree murder
charges after she testified against Harrell. Michelle claimed he was
on drugs when he kicked Erica in the head and threw her on the floor
she didn't want to go bed when he wanted her to. Michelle also plead
to a charge of child endangerment, abandoning a corpse and tampering
evidence since she failed to help her daughter as she lay dying on the
floor. For her plea and for testifying against Harrell, prosecutors
going to make a recommendation of her serving only 25 years. Michelle's
trial was set to start on January 22, 2009.
know what, I think it brings
of closure and some sense of relief to the
to know that, uh, we've
the individuals in this case, we've identified her.
last four years has been very
for this community and this is a real testament
the law enforcement community
to make sure that we have
these two people in custody
we'll be seeing them in court here, fairly soon"
Sanders - Jackman County
was buried a second time in
2005, In Kansas
City, Missouri in Memorial Park Cemetery which is in Jackson County and
below is her new headstone.
October 22, 2008, Michelle Green
to 25 years in prison. Michelle was sentenced to exactly what the
County Prosecutors had recommended. In court, Michelle had the nerve
say she was sorry. Marcie Williams from the "Precious Doe" committee
this to say:
"You married the man that
murdered your child.
How could anybody have
"She married him. She had more
kids by him.
I think what she said today,
but I don't think there's
a long shot do I believe she's
well as saying she was sorry,
the community for adopting Erica, for giving her a name and for burying
her. Judge John R. O'Malley said there is no closer departure from
than when a mother murders her own child.
said in court:
"Never once have I harmed a
hair on her head
or did anything to hurt her.
knows my little
Erica, knows the truth. And I
stop fighting until I prove my
innocence and the
brought to the light"
this man even remember ADMITTING
her in the head? It seems like he doesn't consider that harming her.
a prison in Vandalia, Michelle
spoke about the
death of Erica:
"When I close my eyes, I see
"I heard my daughter take her
And I just told her that, 'I'm
going to take
and brothers and do what I can do
what I couldn't do for her"
"I ask myself everyday, 'Why,
why didn't I
help her. That's a mother's
Why didn't I do what I was
my child? No drugs, no man,
more important than your child"
STILL insists she
was not there when
Harrell cut off Erica's head, though the Harrell and papers say she was:
"I have so many questions, and
only he can
answer. Like 'Why, just why?' Why did he feel
like cutting her head off? I mean,
newspapers they say that I was down there when
this happened. I wasn't down
says she did go back the next day
and move Erica's
head to the woods, with Harrell:
"That's why they think I'm so,
a monster. Yeah,
I did go back. Yeah I did. I'll admit that.
"The next day was garbage day.
have picked it up. It would have been
in the Dumpster, in the sea.
have never, never known who she was,
so yeah, I went back."
"I just wanted my daughter to
be known. I wanted
my daughter to have peace. I love my baby.
I'll never be the same. I just
want her to
have peace. I want her to go on. That's why I'm here,
because I'm admitting that I was
admitting that I didn't protect her like a mother should.
It's not about me. It's not about
It's about my daughter. It's about closure for her"
this were true, Michelle would NOT
stood across the street smiling and waving at cameras as a search for
head of Erica was taking place in the woods. When asked if she and
were still married, she answered:
"What does it matter if I'm not
or am? Will
I ever see him again, probably not"
no longer blames Harrell for
the death of
"All these years, I caught
myself putting the
blame on him, but I can't. I truly can't, because
I just should have, I should have
my daughter. If it came to choose, I should
have died for her. I let her down.
when I'm in my cell, I think about I wish I
could change back time. I wish
that she was
again, Michelle said she was
grateful to the
community for what they gave to Erica, the things SHE had not given
The community gave Erica her name back, they gave her love and they
her a proper burial:
"I wanted everybody to know,
she's not no Doe.
Doe is somebody you don't know. She has,
she has a name"
County Prosecutor Jim
Kanatzar said about
"I know that she
I know she didn't have the advantages that a lot
enjoy in life, but there are
that come into this courtroom everyday with the same
difficult circumstances and they never resort to the type of
that she resorted to, so
an excuse, and no, I don't feel sorry for her"
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