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iPad leads to arrest of woman wanted in killing of 10-year-old

By Madeline Miller and Kelsey Jones

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    FRANKLIN, Virginia (WTKR) — After nearly a year-long investigation into locating a woman accused of shooting a 10-year-old Franklin boy to death, it was an iPad ping that eventually led authorities to her arrest in June.

Tashawnda Drayton, also known by her rapper name “23 Brazy,” went into hiding after she fired shots into a home on Artis Street in Franklin in August 2023, police say. The shots injured a man and killed 10-year-old La’Marj Holden, according to police.

The shooting stemmed from an ongoing conflict Drayton had with the man, police say. The nature of the conflict is unknown.

A search warrant filed by Franklin police states Drayton’s cellphone was traced to Portsmouth after the shooting, but law enforcement was unable to track her down. U.S. Marshals say she had “material assistance” after the shooting, the warrant says.

Franklin police obtained a search warrant for a townhouse-style apartment building in Boykins, Virginia: a town in Southampton County about 20 miles outside of Franklin. This is where Drayton would eventually be taken into custody, according to the U.S. Marshals.

On June 18, marshals say they finally arrested Tashawnda Drayton. The following details outline how the arrest was made, according to a search warrant:

– While conducting surveillance at the Boykins apartment building, an iPad marshals believed was being used by Drayton connected to Wi-Fi at apartment 305. – Marshals then saw a woman leaving apartment 306. The woman had been seen with Drayton in a video that police received during the investigation. Marshals followed her and pulled her over on Armory Drive. – Marshals searched apartment 306 and apartment 305—the unit where marshals pinged the iPad they believed Drayton was using. – While searching apartment 305, marshals found Drayton and arrested her. – The relationship between the woman marshals pulled over and Drayton is unknown.

Marshals previously told News 3 that a relative helped hide Drayton in Boykins.

Law enforcement still hasn’t found the gun used in the shooting or Drayton’s electronic devices, according to the warrant. They said those are crucial in identifying the people who helped Drayton hide after the shooting.

The devices also potentially have communications and media related to the shooting.

They did seize two cell phones and an iPad, according to the warrant. It’s unknown who they belong to.

A judge arraigned Drayton on two sets of charges on Monday, June 24: one for an assault that happened back in December of 2022 and the other for the shooting that killed Holden. She’s facing several charges, including first-degree murder, maiming and shooting into a building.

Drayton will appear in court on August 26 for her first set of charges from 2022. She will then be back in court on October 7 for the charges related to the shooting.

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