Latanisha Carmichael was a 3 year old girl who was beaten to death by her mother and older brother in 1979. Her case went unknown until her twin brother contacted the police with suspicions of her disappearance in early 2000.
Latanisha Carmichael was born in 1976, and had a twin brother named Andre. She also had 2 older siblings, a sister named Sabrina and a brother named Gregory. Their home was described as a place of constant abuse at the hands of their mother Madeline and brother Gregory, who was 19. Latanisha soon became a vague memory to her brother Andre after she seemingly disappeared at just 3 years old.
Growing up, Andre and Sabrina were rarely allowed to leave their home unless it was for school. They also were not allowed to have any friends or see relatives. Andre first began suspecting his sister’s death when he was 12 years old after his visiting aunt asked him about her. After some confusion, Andre asked his mother about his aunt’s question, to which she beat him. After years of abuse, Sabrina and Andre were eventually put into foster care.
When he was 22, Andre married a woman and went on to have a daughter with her. Despite the abuse he went through, he wanted to introduce his baby to his mother Madeline. However, after 1 visit, Madeline demanded that he wouldn’t bring the baby over anymore. She went on to tell her daughter Sabrina that the baby, “resembles someone,” and brought back too many bad memories.
Andre began going to his sister Sabrina about his speculations, but she denied his suspicions. It wasn’t until after his 3rd time asking, Sabrina shared the details of what happened to Latanisha.
Sabrina first made Andre sign a contract stating he wouldn’t share the details she was about to give him. She then went on to detail what happened to the 3 year old girl. Sabrina stated that in November 1979 when she was 8 years old, she witnessed their mother and brother kill Latanisha. Sabrina stated that as she was eating breakfast, her mother was also feeding little Latanisha. She stated that Latanisha became ill and vomited on the kitchen floor, angering their mother Madeline. Their mother then began brutally beating Latanisha. Their brother Gregory joined in on the beating as he was angry he had to clean up her vomit. The young child died because of her injuries. After her death, Madeline then wrapped her body in plastic, put it in a trunk, and hid it in a closet. Latanisha’s body remained there for nearly 20 years until investigators searched the house and found her.
Sabrina stated that she did not speak up before out of fear for her life as well. She went on to say that although their home was abusive, she still had pleasent memories with her mother. She also didn’t want to lose her family bonds because of something she viewed as an accident.
After learning this information, Andre immediately went to the police. Andre began to recall memories of his mother and older brother beating him to keep him away from the closet his sister was hidden in. He also stated that there were often incense sticks and baking soda near the closet to keep the smell away.
After Andre’s reports, law enforcement began their investigation into the case. They found the record of Andre and Latanisha’s birth, but as the years went on, they could only find records for Andre, but none for Latanisha past November 1979. Investigators then went to the home of Madeline and stated they were looking for Latanisha. Madeline responded stating that Latanisha moved out of town and she hadn’t seen her in 23 years.
The investigators obviously didn’t buy her claim, so they began searching the house. They found the closet, which had been closed off like Andre stated. Despite Madeline trying to stop them from further searching, the investigators broke into the closet. They then found the trunk with Latanisha’s remains inside of it.
Madeline and her son Gregory, who were 61 and 38 were arrested for Latanisha’s murder in 2000. During their trial, their defense tried to claim that there was no way to determine if Latanisha was beaten to death and her death could have been an accident. The trunk that held Latanisha’s remains was shown in court during the trial, reminding everyone that a young child’s remains were put in there for over 20 years. Both Madeline and Gregory were sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on October 24, 2000. Madeline died of cancer 2 years into her sentence. Andre and Sabrina went on to write a book about their sister’s murder titled Family Skeleton: A Brother and Sister’s Journey from Murder to Truth.
It’s really disturbing how a person who’s supposed to care for and love their child can beat and kill them, and continue to live with their body in the same home with seemingly no remorse. Latanisha and her siblings were supposed to be loved and cared for by their mother and older brother. Absolutely nothing can justify the murder of a child. I’m glad that Latanisha’s story was brought to light, and by her own siblings at that, and she was given justice.