NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Two women died in a Norfolk apartment after a man involuntarily drugged them while they were out at local bars. Now, the mother of the second woman to die says her daughter would still be alive if Norfolk police properly investigated the death of the first woman.
Kathy Paton filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against the city of Norfolk on July 10. She alleges that her daughter, Kelsey, would still be alive if Norfolk police properly investigated and arrested Michael Ebong the first time a woman died in his Hillside Avenue apartment.
Ebong called Norfolk police to his apartment in the 1200 block of Hillside Avenue on July 11, 2021, and reported that 30-year-old Kelsey Paton died of a drug overdose. The lawsuit alleges that Norfolk police let Ebong help them carry her body out of his apartment in front of members of the public, some of whom took video of the incident and sent it to the Paton family.
Kelsey Paton was the second woman to die in Ebong’s apartment. Eight months before, police were called to the home and discovered 36-year-old Sheena West dead from an overdose.
The lawsuit alleges that the Norfolk Police Department didn’t properly investigate West’s death, including concealing and failing to preserve evidence. The lawsuit claims NPD failed to investigate at the direction of Ebong’s mother, Maravia Reid, because of her influence over the department. LinkedIn lists Reid as NPD’s program administrator and community outreach coordinator. 10 On Your Side confirmed that Reid worked as a civilian for NPD but is now retired.
The lawsuit alleges that the NPD purposefully blocked the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office from investigating and charging Ebong, allowing him to continue to drug women and take them to his apartment to rape them. He did drug and assault a woman between the two deaths, but she survived.
In a statement Thursday afternoon to 10 On Your Side, Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi said, “We grieve with the victims and families in this case. We are thankful to the Norfolk Police Department for bringing us the evidence and witnesses to hold Mr. Ebong accountable. We are confident that the Norfolk Police investigated these cases honorably and in good faith.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Ebong’s lack of connection to West and his criminal history, which includes sexual offenses against women, should have raised questions for the NPD and prompted them to investigate him further.
The City of Norfolk released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
The City of Norfolk is aware of the lawsuit and will respond appropriately through court filings when and if it is served. Maravia Reid worked as a civilian employee in various administrative positions with the Norfolk Police Department for 27 years prior to her retirement in March 2022. While the City sympathizes with the Paton family, it denies that NPD obstructed justice and it will defend the lawsuit accordingly.Statement from the City of Norfolk regarding the Paton lawsuit
Matthew Weinberg, an attorney for Kathy Paton, shared this statement with 10 On Your Side:
“In general, the city has an issue with not investigating overdoses or any death overdoses that is in itself a problem, but more in specifically the city missed open and obvious cues that would have led them to understand that this person was doing wrong from the very beginning from the very first incident with West.
“Prior to filing the lawsuit we submitted a bunch of FOIA requests to get more information and they stonewalled us. That’s why we’re here. We’re trying to hold them accountable for something we believe could have been prevented.
“We know that she [the mom] was in the police chief’s office. We know that Ebong knew that connection was there. What exactly she did we’re still trying to uncover and because they blocked us from getting that information at this stage, we have to file the lawsuit for them to give us information.”Matthew Weinberg – attorney for Kathy Paton
Ebong was originally charged with second-degree murder in connection to West and Paton’s deaths; however, he was found guilty of two counts of involuntary manslaughter in September 2022. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in September.
He was also found guilty in September 2022 of raping the third woman, who he drugged and attacked in May 2019.
This is breaking news and will be updated.
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