Mother banned from caring for toddlers let them drown in river while she lay intoxicated

TULSA, OKLAHOMA: A Tulsa mother who has been arrested and charged for her childrens’ murder let them wander off and drown in a river while she got drunk, police have said.

Donisha Renee Willis, 24, came to the attention of authorities late last month after her two children, three-year-old Miracle Lashay Crook and two-year-old Tony Demone, went missing in Tulsa on Friday, May 22.

Authorities said they were last seen near the Shoreline Apartments and had been spotted just minutes earlier with Willis at a convenience store. Around 30 minutes later the same morning, a witness said they had seen the children at the apartment with their mother. She was later found passed out on the couch by police.

After several days of searching, authorities found the childrens’ bodies in two separate waterways in Green Country, according to KJRH.

Last Tuesday night, May 26, Muskogee and Wagoner County Emergency Management recovered a female child’s body from Verdigris River. The body of a young boy was found the next day in Bird Creek at 46th Street North.

Three days later, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin confirmed that the bodies found belonged to Miracle and Tony, and said a heartbreaking video showed the toddlers holding hands and walking downstairs towards water near Mingo Creek the day they disappeared.

He said it appeared as though the children walked through an open section of the chainlink fence along Mingo Creek and down steps carved into the cement embankment. “It’s saddening, but we’re elated we are able to bring closure. And this is closure because we located those two and brought them home,” he told reporters.

Willis, who was on probation at the time of the incident, reportedly did not have custody of the children and was accused of breaking into the Shoreline Apartments where they were staying and assaulting their caretaker.

The caretaker is said to have let her look after the toddlers the next morning, only to return with their legal guardian later that evening and find her passed out intoxicated on the couch.

Willis has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection to her childrens’ death, according to the Tulsa County Courthouse. She is also facing one count of assault and battery of an officer after she allegedly refused to cooperate or give any information about her children and then assaulted a law enforcement official trying to talk to her. The 24-year-old’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 17, 2020.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler told Tulsa World that the decision to file charges is never taken lightly and that “it will be no different in this case.”

“It’s the duty of the DA’s office to set aside the obvious emotions and do the job for which we were hired to do,” he said, adding that a decision will be taken once his office reviews the reports they receive.

Asked if Willis’ charges could be upgraded due to the outcome of the search for the children, Kunzweiler said this was not the time to speculate but a time to come together and mourn.

“I think I’d rather the focus be on those two kids and let our community grieve for them appropriately,” he insisted. “We’ll deal with the other stuff as time comes forward. I’ve got a job to do. We’re going to review what the Tulsa Police Department’s given to us.”