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Police reveal series of tragic murders/suicides in Culver City, Redondo Beach

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A series of related events occur that trigger an investigation by the LAPD

According to an LAPD press release, authorities reconstructed a series of tragic events that occurred early on the morning of March 8, culminating in a murder, a fatal traffic accident and the discovery of two young children on the 405 Freeway.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Topanga Division patrol officers responded to a call for a homicide investigation in the 6200 block of Variel Avenue in Woodland Hills at approximately 7:35 a.m. on April 8, 2024. Investigators from the Operations Valley Bureau (OVB) Homicide Unit were called to investigate the crime scene.

According to LAPD officials, the victim, identified as 29-year-old Jaelen Chaney, was found dead inside the apartment. Further investigation revealed that Chaney was involved in a verbal altercation with 34-year-old Danielle Johnson, where he lived with her two young children, ages eight months and nine years.

The altercation turned violent, resulting in Johnson stabbing Chaney, who succumbed to his injuries at the scene. A knife containing biological evidence was recovered from the apartment. After the altercation, Johnson fled the scene with her two children in a dark Porsche SUV.

In a series of events, the SUV was spotted around 4:30 a.m. on the 405 Freeway, where the two children were thrown from the moving vehicle by their mother near Howard Hughes Parkway in Culver City. The nine-year-old child suffered moderate injuries and was transported to a local hospital after leaving the roadway, while the eight-month-old child suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shortly thereafter, around 5 a.m., Johnson was involved in a single-vehicle collision near the intersection of Vincent Street and Pacific Coast Highway in the city of Redondo Beach. Johnson was driving at speeds over 100 miles per hour and collided with a tree. She did not survive the accident and was the only occupant of the vehicle.

The events leading up to the discovery of Chaney's body only came to light when neighbors noticed the apartment's front door opening and investigated further. LAPD personnel were then notified.

After an investigation and collaboration with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Redondo Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, LAPD Homicide Detectives concluded that all incidents were related and did not represent an ongoing threat existed for the community.
Authorities are asking anyone with additional information to contact Operations Valley Bureau homicide detectives at (818) 374-9550. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or online at www.lacrimestoppers.org. Additionally, tipsters can use the P3 Tips mobile application and select LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.