May 21, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Police Reveal Series of Events in Tragic Murder/Suicide in Culver City, Redondo Beach

Series of Connected Events Unfold, Prompting LAPD Investigation

Authorities pieced together a series of tragic events that unfolded early on the morning of March 8, culminating in a homicide, a fatal traffic collision, and the discovery of two young children on the 405 Freeway, according to an LAPD press release. 

The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Topanga Division patrol officers responded to a call for a homicide investigation in the 6200 block of Variel Avenue in Woodland Hills around 7:35 a.m. on April 8, 2024. Operations Valley Bureau (OVB) homicide detectives were called to investigate the scene.

According to LAPD officials, the victim, identified as 29-year-old Jaelen Chaney, was found deceased in the apartment. Further investigation revealed that Chaney had been involved in a verbal altercation with 34-year-old Danielle Johnson, with whom he resided along with her two young children, aged eight months and nine years.

The altercation turned violent, resulting in Johnson stabbing Chaney, who succumbed to his injuries at the scene. A knife with biological evidence was recovered from the apartment. Following the altercation, Johnson fled the scene with her two children in a dark-colored Porsche SUV.

In a sequence of events, around 4:30 a.m., the SUV was spotted on the 405 Freeway, where the two children were ejected from the moving vehicle by their mother near Howard Hughes Parkway in Culver City. The nine-year-old child sustained moderate injuries and was transported to a local hospital after running out of the traffic lanes, while the eight-month-old child suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shortly after, around 5:00 a.m., Johnson was involved in a single-vehicle collision in the city of Redondo Beach, near the intersection of Vincent Street and the Pacific Coast Highway. Driving at a speed exceeding 100 miles per hour, Johnson collided with a tree. She did not survive the crash and was the only occupant of the vehicle.

The events preceding the discovery of Chaney’s body were only unearthed after neighbors noticed the front door of the apartment open and investigated further. LAPD personnel were subsequently notified.

Following an investigation and the collaboration with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Redondo Beach Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, LAPD homicide detectives determined that all incidents were connected and there was no ongoing threat to the community.
Authorities are urging anyone with additional information to contact Operations Valley Bureau Homicide Detectives at (818) 374-9550. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or online at www.lacrimestoppers.org. Additionally, tipsters may use the “P3 Tips” mobile application, selecting LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

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