EXCLUSIVE: Birth-mother of 8-year-old boy allegedly beaten to death searching for answers in murder of her child


FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Keona Smith is mourning the loss of her eight-year-old son, Jae-Luv Smith, who police say was murdered over the weekend. His guardians, Crystal Johnson, who is Keona’s aunt, and Crystal’s husband, Patrick Johnson, were arrested for the crime after a forensic pathologist ruled Smith’s death a homicide caused by severe blunt force trauma.

“I got to apologize to my kids because I did ask for help… I wasn’t ready as a mom. I was young, but I didn’t know they were going to do this to them,” Smith said.

Photo of Crystal Johnson, 47, and Patrick Johnson, 49 provided by the Fresno Police Department

Patrick was arrested for the murder of Jae-Luv, and Crystal was arrested on charges of felony child abuse. She was let out on bail for $40,000. Patrick’s bail is set at $1,000,000.

“Any time you have a loss of life it’s tragic, but with an eight-year-old child…It’s very sad, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s terrible…” Lieutenant Rob Beckwith said of the case.

Police were called to Jae-Luv’s home in southeast Fresno on the morning of April 17, with reports that he was unresponsive. Medical personnel attempted to revive him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Balloons and toys were left outside of the Fresno home where police say 8-year-old Jae-Luv Smith lost his life.

Smith says her 10-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter who lived with Jae-Luv, Patrick, and Crystal, told child-protective services about prior abuse. Officials said they know of two prior referrals to Child Protective Services.

“It’s been going on. The truth is coming out. My daughter told CPS they’ve been getting abused. I’m not going to leave these Fresno streets until I get the truth,” Smith said.

Jae-Luv’s siblings are under the care of Child Protective Services, and CPS will be conducting their own investigation. Crystal Johnson is due in court on June 24.

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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