FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — His name was La’Marj Holden, he was 10 years old, and following an argument, he was killed.
The person thought responsible for the killing, Tashawnda Nicole Drayton, faces several charges, including first-degree murder, and is not only on the run, but also may be in hiding and being helped by family and friends.
“Look, we want Drayton in custody,” said Franklin Police Chief Steve Patterson. “It’s been almost two weeks now. She needs to come to justice come to custody.”
He knows the search for Drayton, who has several tattoos, including ‘Only Loyalty’ above her left eyebrow, will be a challenge because of who is helping her.
She has now been missing for two weeks.
“She’s got to have some place to stay, she’s got to have food, some shelter,” Patterson said. “The reward offered means someone should be coming forward and saying, ‘Hey, here is where she is at. You need to come and get her.’ “
After her grandson was killed, we interviewed La’Marj’s grandmother, Dorothy Fulgham.
She’s livid and hurt Drayton is still on the run.
“What’s my message to police? I hope they get her because that is their job to do,” Fulgham said. “I am surprised they have not caught her yet, yes, because I know that family has that girl. I know they have her. They know more than what they are telling you all.”
Fulgham was clearly hurting, evidenced by the tone in her voice.
“I feel bad, sir,” Fulgham said. “I feel bad forever. … I hate it. I hate it, and I hope you get these killers that did that to my grandson.”
Drayton is a rapper by the name of “23 Brazy.”
She has 23 Brazy in red letters on her forehead and multiple other tattoos on her face, neck, arms and hands.
We asked the police chief if he thinks the rap community is helping hide her.
“It is possible,” Patterson said. “I mean it’s been two weeks. There’s money on the table for a reward. We are hoping for people to come forward and provide information where she’s at.”
There’s a $5,000 reward for information leading to Drayton’s arrest.
The U.S. Marshals Service told us they believe Drayton’s family and close associates are helping her avoid capture, and that is what Patterson thinks too.
“We got a person who is wanted for that murder, (and), in my opinion, is being protected,” Patterson said. “Hiding out (with help of) family.”
10 On Your Side confronted Drayton’s mother, Stacy Smith, as she sat under the watchful eye of Virginia State Police during the initial investigation.
Asked whether she knew where Drayton was or the last time she saw her, Smith claimed to have no idea.
10 On Your Side returned to that same house on Hall Street.
No one was home, but listen to what Smith told us in that interview about her daughter’s safety.”
“I am concerned about my daughter’s safety,” Smith said.
What did she mean by that?
“I mean, to make sure she is safe and that everything is OK,” Smith said.
We asked La’Marj’s grandmother about Drayton still being on the lam.
“I am surprised they haven’t caught her yet,” Fulgham said. “Yes, because I know that family has that girl. I know they have her. They know more than what they are telling you all.”
Said Patterson: “Look, at the end of the day, she is able to stay on the run. We need people to tell us where she’s at. Tell us where we can find her, and let’s get her into custody.”