Was LAPD Officer’s Mother Murdered By Her Own Niece?
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Police announced the arrest of a 59-year-old woman in connection with the shooting death last month of a LAPD training officer’s mother.
Authorities say suspect Barbara Jean Davenport was the niece of the victim, 79-year-old Cleo Hughes.
The deceased, shot to death while in bed at her South Los Angeles home in the 1600 block of West 66th Street, was discovered by her son.
Officials said DNA evidence recovered at the scene led them to Davenport.
Hughes’ body was discovered June 3 around 11:50 a.m. after her son was unable to reach her by phone. Concerned about her welfare, he drove over to her house and made the discovery.
“The detectives’ investigation took a positive turn on July 6, 2012, when they were notified of a positive DNA match,” said Officer Karen Rayner of the Los Angeles Police Department. “The suspect was identified as… a niece of Hughes.”
Hughes was a fixture in the South LA community. She owned Jack’s Family Kitchen on Western Avenue, neighbors said.
Preliminary reports indicated robbery appeared to be the motive for the killing.
Davenport was booked for murder and is now being held on $1 million bail.
Monica Owens, the victim’s neighbor, told CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Amanda Burden she’s still in shock Hughes is dead, let alone at the hands of a relative. “I can’t believe this. It’s crazy. I can’t believe she would do that.”
Owens said Davenport was a frequent presence at her aunt’s home. “No one ever said anything bad about (the suspect),” she said. “She seemed normal to me. When she would come by to see her aunt, she would wave and say ‘Hi.'”
“Miss Hughes was well respected in her neighborhood, she was well loved by her family,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at a Thursday afternoon news conference. “She certainly did not deserve to be murdered in this brutal fashion and I am glad that we are able to bring some closure to this.”
A neighbor told Burden off-camera that Davenport attended her aunt’s funeral.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)