MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- The tipster who helped crack the case of a beheaded 3-year-old girl went to police with his suspicions nearly a year ago and recently tricked the child's mother into providing a hair sample that he mailed to Kansas City, a community activist said Friday.
Police would not comment on what role the hair sample may have played in the arrests of Michelle M. Johnson, 30, and Harrell Johnson, 25, the girl's stepfather. The two agreed Friday to be returned to Kansas City to face murder charges.
Some of the hair came from the mother's brush, and she gave some of it to the tipster after he told her he would put it in a Bible under the 23rd Psalm to bring her good luck, said Alonzo Washington, a Kansas City community activist who has long championed efforts to identify the girl.
Washington said the tipster, who does not want his name released, first contacted police nearly a year ago and gave them all the pertinent details about the case, but investigators did not believe him.
The child, who was almost 4 when she was found in 2001, was identified by police Thursday as Erica Michelle Marie Green. Her body was found near an intersection in Kansas City. Days later, her head was found nearby, wrapped in a trash bag. Police say the girl's head was cut off with a pair of hedge clippers.
Police investigators said the tipster was in touch with them numerous times since July 2004, but his information was incomplete. Then, on April 29, "He called back with a lot more detailed information," said Kansas City police spokesman Darrin Snap.
The tipster sent Washington the hair sample and photo, who gave them to the police. Kansas City investigators then traveled to Muskogee to interview Michelle and Harrell Johnson, who were already in jail on unrelated charges.
According to court papers, Harrell Johnson beat the girl one night in April 2001 and the couple left her unconscious on the floor for two days. They did not seek medical help, the mother said, because both had warrants out for their arrest.
The child died, and the couple carried the body to a church parking lot, then through the woods, where the stepfather cut the girl's head off with hedge clippers, police said.
A $33,000 reward is being offered in the case, but Washington said the tipster was not influenced by the money.
"He said he just wanted to right a wrong," Washington said.
On the Net:
Alonzo Washington: http://www.omega7.com