On March 19, 2011, Yashanee Vaughn, a 14-year-old student at Helensview High School in Portland, Ore., disappeared. The last person to see her was 16-year-old Parrish Bennette. Hopes that Yashanee would be found alive were dashed when investigators found evidence that she died in Parrish’s bedroom in the Bennette home. The teen was arrested and charged with manslaughter and murder. He told his father and others that Yashanee's death was an accident. But it was four months before he finally led investigators to Yashanee’s lonely grave, buried three-feet underground on the wild slopes of nearby Rocky Butte. For Yashanee’s heartbroken family and friends, justice demands answers to dozens of unanswered questions. What really happened that fateful night? Why did nobody see or hear anything? Were others involved? Who transported Yashanee’s body and how? Did a witness identify Parrish and another man near the Grotto on Monday March 21? And what about the anonymous caller who named names and painted a chilling scenario involving four people and a rape? Was she repeating a rumor or did she really know something. Why didn’t investigators take those tapes? Yashanee's family believed those questions would be answered at Parrish's trial. Most were not, but Yashanee's family were stunned to discover they had waited four months to learn she had been killed and the location of her body because his defense lawyers had advised him to remain silent. Meanwhile those who knew Parrish before he ever picked up a gun were asking other questions. How could the boy they knew have done what he’s accused of? Could this tragedy have been prevented? Two mothers who took Parrish into their homes say he was an abused and neglected child who struggled for years to get help. They say they reported abuse, but caseworkers failed to protect him, and the Juvenile Justice system did no better. If Parrish had received help when he needed it, they say, he wouldn’t have been running the streets, getting in trouble and carrying a gun in the first place. This timeline is incomplete: If you have information to add, that will add to the story, please send it to Helen Silvis at Helen@theskanner.com We will add information that we can verify independently and meetsThe Skanner News' journalistic standards.
Created by Helys on Sep 19, 2012
Last updated: 02/09/15 at 06:20 AM
Tags: Yashanee Vaughn Parrish Bennette Jr.
At the sentencing hearing The defense team reveals they advised Parrish not to reveal the location of Yashanees body. Yashanees mother and family are outraged.
In an emotional court hearing Parrish peads guity to Mansaughter 1 and agrees to a plea deal. He will serve a fixed 18-year term
Parrish is expected to plead guilty to manslughter in exchange for an 18-year fixed sentence
The Skanner News publishes story detailing the questions Yashanee's family continue to raise about her death, and reporting information about Parrish before his arrest.
Photo shows family and friends raising their hands in prayer at a vigil in June 2011
At a pre-trial hearing Chrystal Bell a state forensic scientist testifies that Yashanee died of a bullet wound to her head.
She said she lay with her head under a table for some time.
Kasey Montoya speaks to a woman who says she saw Parrish Bennette on Monday March 21, at The Grotto near 87nd Avenue.
She says she remembers because she "locked eyes" with him.
She also says he was with another man, and both were carrying heavy garbage bags.
Hundreds of people gathered at City Bible Church on the slopes of Rocky Butte for a Celebration of Life and Love for Yashanee LaFace Vaughn Pastor J.W. Friday and Elder Elmer Yarborough officiated at the ceremony Elishua Goldsby sang "You're Always on My Mind>"
Benefit concert is hosted by comedian Rissa Riss, to help family raise funds for life celebration and expenses.
Parrish tells investigators where Yashanee's body is buried. Her remains are unearthed from a temporary grave, buried three-feet into the hillside at Rocky Butte. Because Yashanee's body has been underground for almost four months, the family needs to wait for DNA testing to confirm her identity.
Shaquita Louis, Yashanee's mother publishes an open letter to Parrish pleading for him to disclose the location of her daughter's body. The letter first appears in the Sunday Oregonian. The Oregonian reportedly told the family that the letter will get prominent placement, but only if the Oregonian can publish before other media.
Letter from Shaquita Louis to Parrish Bennette
Because we know each other personally, I will skip the formalities. I write this letter with an aching heart and the desire to understand exactly what Yashanee did to deserve this and why my family has to suffer. We don't eat or sleep and I can't even look at Shanee's friends without thinking about what and who my daughter could've become.
The day after Yashanee was murdered, you became a parent. I ask you to put yourself in my position, how would you feel if this was your daughter? You and Quinn got to celebrate your first Mother's and Father's Day with your daughter, while Yoshawnee and I grieved our first without Shanee.
I carried Shanee for 9 months. I miss my baby so bad, a part of me has been taken. Parrish you know how close me and Shanee were. Now that you have your own daughter, can you begin to imagine how I feel?
Parrish, one of the things that confuse me the most, is the way you smiled at me and my family at the bail hearing. You, me and Shanee smiled and shared laughs together. I treated you as my own; I welcomed you into my home and often showed you more love than your own natural family. My son Keontae looked up to you as a big brother.
Now that I have asked God to come into my life, I pray for you often. I've even began to ask God to help me forgive you. Along with the City of Portland, I pray that God will speak to your heart and mind, so you can reveal the EXACT LOCATION where my daughter Yashanee Laface Vaughn is at.
Parrish, I'm not even mad anymore. I'm just hurting and need to lay Yashanee to rest properly. We are all tired (you included). Only you can end this horrible nightmare so we (you included) can try and move on with our lives.
Yashanee was in everyone's thought's at the Good in the Neighborhood festival, June 25 at the Martin Luther King Jr. elementary school. Family and friends of her family handed out flyers at a stall. The girl with the million dollar smile was nicknamed Bonnie B. Her friends and family adored her optimistic, lively, outgoing personality. On one of the hottest days of the summer, the Yashanee Vaughn Movement, as they call themselves, celebrated alongside their grief, dancing to a song written by her uncle Maccin' D.
At a bail hearing, the prosecution offers more evidence. They submit photographs from Parrish's phone, the blood stains discovered in his home, and a scrap of tee-shirt stained with blood found inside a plastic bag hidden in his grandparents' home.
The first version of the evidence says the blood evidence in the room shows Yashanee was beaten before she was shot.
That report says the evidence shows conclusively that she was beaten while on the ground.
At a later hearing, Chrystal Bell,a forensics expert with the Oregon State Police reverses that testimony to say that the blood pattern came from a gunshot. She testifies that Yashanee died of a gunshot wound that entered behind her ear and exited through her spine.
The Oregonian's crime reporter, Maxine Bernstein gives a comprehensive account of the bail hearing in her story, linked here.
It's been very heartbreaking," she tells KATU. And talks about the search for her daughter's family and her desperation without knowning what happened.
Distressed by the disappearance of Yashanee Vaughn, LaQuoya Tyler and her sister LaCrisha organize a teen walk against violence. They are supported by a group of teens, based at Highland Christian Center, and the girls' grandmother Roberta Tyler. A crowd gathers for the walk from Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Irving park and King Elementary School. At the park, teens and adults call for an end to youth violence.
Yashanee's mother, Shaquita Louis speaks at the rally and walks with the teens. She is supported by a small group of women who have formed around the family to help them through the ordeal.
PHOTO: The crowd begins to gather outside the Blazers Boys and Girls Club in Northeast Portland.
Shiloh Hampton, a 14-year-old Madison High School student is shot outside the Lloyd Center at Holladay Park.
He dies in hospital early April 21, and that evening students hold a candle light vigil and speak out at Madison High School. Shaquita Louis attends and offers support and condolences to Shiloh's foster family.
Jimmy Sanders Garcie and Eddie Mohr later are arrested.
One month after Yashanee's disappearance, she has not been found. Her family hold an candlelight vigil at 2700 NE 82nd.
A cleaning crew at the Bennette Home gives police a spent shell casing from a 38 revolver found in the home.
As students at Helensview and around the city grieve the loss of Yashanee, another Helensview student, Mario Alexander Marin, 19, is shot dead near the site of Yashanee's disapearance and just two blocks from the former Bennette home. He graduated the Helensview program just two days previously.
The grand jury indicts Parrish with manslaughter and murder.
Immediately after Parrish's first court appearance, In an emotional but exceptionally open press conference the family pleads for anyone with information to come forward.
While griefstricken they hold to the slim hope because they still don't know why or how Yashanee is supposed to be dead.
Shaquita Louis appears on CNN to plead for information about her daughter.
Outside the Northeast police precinct a memorial was placed with candles and pictures of Yashanee. The gang task force meets inside the precinct every second Friday morning. At that meeting community members, police, county, city and nonprofit workers discuss their work.
Police interview Bennette Sr.and learn that Parrish told his father he has shot Yashanee accidentally.
Yashanees Family and a group of supporters who come to call themselves the Yashanee Vaughn Movement take to the streets, distributing flers outside high schools and throughout the city. The women support the family throughout the 2011 and beyond.
Yashanee's mother Shaquita Louis calls police March 23, to press for follow-up on the missing persons report.
Louis and Yashanee's grandmother Reynelda Hayes contact press outlets to publicize their girl's disappearance. It was to be the beginning of a search that would last four agonizing months.
The Skanner News' Brian Stimson, writes an article with a description of Yawshanee, one of the variations on her name, she used.
The family and their supporters launch a ceaseless effort to keep the case and Yashanee's face in front of the public. Hope still remains that Yashanee will be found alive and well.
Detectives can't speak to Parrish, who is in California with his grandparents attending a family funeral.
Photograph shows a distraught Shaquita Louis, with friends of the family, organizing search parties.
From soon after Yashanee disappears for the next four months family and friends distribute flyers across the city. The flyers show photos of Yashanee and detail what she was wearing when she was last seen.
Shaquita Louis makes an official missing persons report. Police believe Yashanee has run away or is just with friends, as is most often the case with missing teens. Yashanee threatened to run away once before after an argument, but never got beyond eyesight. This time there was no argument. Her mother, father and grandmother are immediately very worried because Yashanee usually spoke to her father every few hours and loved to text, talk on her phone and update her Facebook page. But now there were no Facebook updates.
On Dec. 7 2011 KOIN will air a Kasey Montoya interview with a witness who says she saw Parrish that day near Maywood Park. She says she "locked eyes" with him and recognized him when she saw his mugshot on TV.
The woman says he was with another man and both men were weighed down by garbage bags.
At Parrish's bail hearing June 24, police release details of their investigation. Two of the witnesses they interview report meeting with Parrish on March 20. Errick Butler, 21, and Bardolph McConnell, 16, give Parrish a ride to hospital to see his new baby daughter. Inside Parrish's black duffel bag, he has a revolver. McConnell tells Parrish he has always wanted this gun, a Colt 38 revolver, and Parrish gives it to him. But he warns McConnel that he has "served" with the gun, a slang term meaning he has shot somebody. And says, "you don't want to know." An associate of Butler's sells the gun to a Derrek Cameron, but it is sold again to a woman. Police track down the gun and link it to the bullet found in Parrish's house.
Police offered this timeline in testimony at Parrish's bail hearing. AM Parrish Bennette Sr. goes to Tacoma for a motorcycle rally. Parrish and Yashanee exchange texts. Yashanee leaves her friend's house in North Portland around noon, planning to meet Parrish. PM 6:30 Yashanee and Parrish eat at Taco Bell on 82nd Avenue near Parrish's home 7:22 Yashanee talks to Shandrea Farve telling her she is on her way to meet her. 7:28 p.m. Yashanee's phone is registered pinging within the radius of Parrish's home. 7:49 p.m.: Shandrea gets Voicemail when she calls back to arrange a meeting place. 7:30-7:45 Parrish Bennette Sr. returns home. He says his son is there and sits downstairs for about 20 minutes. 8 p.m. Parrish Bennette Sr.'s girlfriend arrives. Parrish goes outdoors several times. 8:30 Parrish takes a shower. Bennette Sr. and his girlfriend watch television in Sr.'s upstairs bedroom. 9 p.m. Parrish says he's going to visit Quineisha. His pregnant girlfriend is close to giving birth. 9:30 Parrish returns and says his girlfriend is coming to the house. 11 p.m. Heavily pregnant Quineisha arrives at the house. March 20 early hours: Quineisha is in labor and has to go to the hospital Quineisha gives birth to a daughter that morning.
Yashanee Vaughn tells her family she plans to visit her best friend and cousin Shawndrea, in Vancouver, Wash., where she plans to get her hair done. At around 4:30 p.m. her grandmother and brother Cedrell see her on N.E. 82nd Avenue waiting for a bus. 7:22 to 7:28 p.m. Last recorded cell phone use is a call to Shawndrea Farve. The two girls planned to meet later that evening. 7:49 Shawndrea calls back realizing the girls forgot to name a meeting place. Her call goes to voicemail. Calls from Yashanee’s family go straight to voicemail. On Sunday morning, Shawndrea calls Yashanee's home and reaches her mother Shaquita Louis. Louis learns her daughter never arrived at her friend's home. Immediately the family sets off the alarm, and begins to call around to try to find Yashanee. At first they call friends and family. That afternoon, Shaquita Louis and Yashanee's father Yoshawnee Vaughn visit the Bennette home. They talk to Parrish Bennette Sr. He tells them that Yashanee is not with his son, who is on his way to a family funeral in California.
Court records say that Parrish' enrollment in the Redirection program ends the day before Yashanee's disappearance.
Parrish takes cell phone photos of himself in the bathroom posing with a gun. The cell phone records it is 7:43 p.m.
Parrish is enrolled in Portland's Redirection Program on Northeast Marine Drive, which works with troubled students, who have been expelled from public school.
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From Fall 2010, Parrish is posting to cell phone photos of himself to his Facebook page that copy images in popular culture. Jay-Z, Soulja Boy and 50 Cent are just three entertainers who have been photographed with bundles of cash, and other indications of wealth, such as expensive bottles of spirits and gold jewelry.
Yashanee becomes a student at Helensview High School.
Kris Persson, the principal of the school, told the Skanner in 2011: "People think these young people don't care about education. That couldn't be further from the truth. All the students who come here have fought incredibly hard to get an education."
Sometime in June or July 2010, Parrish dates Quineisha and she gets pregnant. Quineisha visited the Bennette home the evening of March 19. She gave birth to a daughter on the morning of March 20.
Yashanee leaves Open Meadow Middle School at the end of the school year.
Parrish is arrested again. Initially he was charged with possession of a gun in a public place. But the charge is reduced to resisting arrest . He spends six days in custody before being released. A statement from Multnomah County says: “This young man started his probation with the county in November 2009 on charges of theft II and harassment. Between that initial probation contact in November 2009 and March 28, 2011, he was held in juvenile detention six times, five of which were for probation violations. The sixth time--from March 31, 2010 to April 6, 2010—he was detained in the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home for possession of a firearm in a public place. While we can confirm that the Juvenile Services Division was actively working with the family, state law does not allow us to comment about specific interventions and contacts in any juvenile’s record. We can say that any time a juvenile comes before the court in detention, the Juvenile Services Division works with all parties to find the most suitable placement option for that young man or woman, and keeps the court informed.”
Yashanee goes to Open Meadow Middle School in North Portland. But even though Parrish also went to Open Meadow for a time, their paths never crossed at the school. They were there at entirely different times. Yashanee enrolled in Open Meadow Middle school in Nov. 2009. Principal Elizabeth Jensen remembers a much-loved girl whose family would transport her to and from school. Yashanee was a small girl, Jensen says, but she had a magnetic personality. Yashanee's mother and father were both very committed parents, Jensen says. They made sure she was there on time every morning. Yashanee had a community of caring adults around her, Jensen says.
Parrish is arrested and charged with theft and harassment. Danielle Curtis hears he pushed a kid off a bike and stole it. She says she got a call from Parrish's attorney asking if she would take him in. Curtis says she will, but the attorney tells her she will first need permission from Parrish's juvenile counselor Sylvia Martinez. Curtis says she calls Martinez eight times but gets no call back. She says at some point she was contacted by a case worker but she was out of cell phone range. When she returns the call she finds Parrish has been sent back home. A statement from Multnomah County says Parrish was on probation from November 2009, and was picked up six times for probation violations between then and March 2010. Where was Parrish going to school? That is unclear.
One of Parrish's friends told The Skanner News he and another boy had to take care of Parrish because he was so distressed at LDs death. "...he went crazy," the friend said. "Before he was loving, caring,... but once (LD) died he went crazy and went on a f*** everybody roll." Parrish started taking risks, the friend said, and started drinking, talking tough and hanging out with a tougher crowd.
Parrish's unofficial mentor, LD dies. LD was a consistent caring influence in Parrish's life. He called him his uncle, and on several occasions LD and his partner Danielle Curtis asked DHS to let them take him into their family. - LDs death put an end to that dream. Curtis believes losing LDs death and hope of becoming part of his family crushed Parrish and was a turning point. in his life. "I think he felt defeated," she told The Skanner News. "I know I did." Note: Danielle Curtis and LD's identities have been shielded at Curtis request.
At the end of the school year, Parrish graduates from Open Meadow Middle School
Parrish enrolls in 8th Grade at Open Meadow Middle School
Principal Elizabeth Jensen says he was likeable and a good student who, "excelled in reading and met standards in math." He was definitely a smart kiddo," she said. "I was shocked when I found out he was being accused of this because that's not the Parrish I knew."
Parrish was expelled from Mt. Tabor in early 2009. Why? We can't answer that because school records are not open to the public. A close friend of Parrish's says the expulsion came after he skipped school to go to the mall to buy socks for his basketball game. Image shows detail from a mural created by Portland artist Arvie Smith with young people in detention.
Madeline Stone is forced to tell Parrish he can no longer stay at her home. LD calls Parrish's mother and asks her to take her son to live with her in Chicago. The answer? No. LD and Curtis discuss the possibility of adopting Parrish into their family. The Photo shows Parrish holding Curtis' and LDs one-year-old son.
At the Stone family home, Parrish meets two close family friends: Danielle Curtis and her boyfriend, LD. LD becomes a mentor to Parrish, taking him fishing and to family gatherings. Like Stone, the pair are convinced Parrish is abused at home. Curtis says she reported abuse to Children's Services after seeing bruises and cuts on Parrish. “I’ve seen a busted cheek and bruises around his neck,” Curtis told The Skanner News. “DHS has known for years, but they won’t do anything about it,” DHS Spokesman Gene Evans told The Skanner that federal and state law prohibits any disclosures of child abuse records. After checking out several key points in Curtis and Stone’s stories, which were verified by others, we agreed to disguise LD s and Curtis’s identity. Both moms requested anonymity because of concerns about family members. Photo shows Parrish at a family gathering with Danielle Curtis.
At Mt. Tabor Middle School Parrish is friends with “Josh Stone” and meets his mother "Madeline Stone.” The boys play on a basketball team together and Parrish begins to spend more and more time at the Stone family home. According to Madeline Stone, Parrish spends weeks at a time with her family, over a period of about two years. Madeline Stone says she saw signs of abuse in the Bennette home, and sent photos of Parrish with bruises and cuts on his face, to a case worker. Gene Evans a representative from Oregon's department of Human Services says state and federal laws forbid disclosure of children's records. After checking out several key points in the story we heard from Stone and her friend Danielle Curtis, which were verified by others, we agreed to disguise their identities. Both moms requested anonymity because of concerns about family members. The illustration shows "Angel" created by Portland painter Arvie Smith with boys and girls in Portland's Donald E. Long Juvenile Justice Center
Parrish goes into 6th Grade at the Japanese immersion program at Mt. Tabor Middle School. Students who attended Mt. Tabor with Parrish, tell the Skanner, “everyone liked him.”
For the most part, Parrish does well at the school. He does get into a minor showing match with the son of The Skanner News’ multimedia editor. Both boys were disciplined.
In 8th grade, Parrish is one of a group of boys who get into trouble for setting lighter fuel on fire in a convenience store parking lot.