Update: Columbus Police are looking to talk to a possible witness of the murder of a father and his three-year-old son.
Police say may Antonio Benard Willis may have witnessed the murder of 41-year-old Joseph “JoJo” Banks and his 3-year-old son Jaceiden on Stuart Drive.
The Homicide Unit has been unable to locate and speak with Willis as of this time.
Willis is known to frequent homeless shelters in the Columbus and Metro Atlanta areas.
It is believed that Willis may have information about the double homicide of Joseph Banks and his toddler son, Ja’caiden Roberts in Columbus, Georgia on November 27, 2018.
You’re asked to call police with any information on his whereabouts.
A local family is still in shock after a father and toddler son were suddenly taken from their midst. Fourty-one-year-old Joseph “JoJo” Banks and his 3-year-old son Jaceiden were found shot to death on Stuart Drive Tuesday morning.
“I ain’t never dealt with no pain like this,” says Janaya Banks, Joseph’s daughter.
Janaya says she was sitting in her high school cafeteria when she first heard the news about her father and little brother.
“My other brother called me and I was like, he never calls me when I’m at school, so I knew something was up. He was crying and stuttering and I was like boy spit it out. He said dad’s gone,” she remembers “I just walked out the cafeteria and I was trying to hold it in because I was at school, but I just couldn’t.”
Olivia, another of Joseph’s daughters, says she was actually working at Piedmont Regional when she first heard someone had been shot Tuesday morning.
“They were telling me somebody’s been shot and they might be on the way here, so I was like cool, got everything ready then went home and went to sleep. I woke up to like 11 or 12 calls and I’m like what are these people calling me for? That’s when they were like JoJo’s dead. I said, who — your JoJo? Because it can’t be mine,” Olivia remembers.
Muscogee County Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley confirms to News 3 Joseph and Jaceiden were found lying on opposite ends of the Stuart Drive home’s driveway. Police add the home was vacant and a neighbor walking to the store around 8:30 a.m. was the first to notice the bodies and call 911.
Joseph’s wife Latasah Carnes tells News 3’s Mikhaela Singleton she’s lived the last 20 years of her life by “JoJo’s” side.
“That’s all I know, all my adult life it was me and JoJo. I don’t know how to live without him. I don’t know what to do now without JoJo in my life,” she says tearfully.
Family members say they’re all in sickened by the shooting of 3-year-old Jaceiden as well.
“It was wrong and it was cold, like how could you kill a baby?” Latasah cries.
“What was the point?” asks Janaya. “What reason could anyone possibly have for shooting a little boy like that?”
Major J.D. Hawk of the Columbus Police Department Homicide Division says there is no shortage of tips flowing in from an outraged Columbus community.
“I’m very happy with the public and the amount of tips we’ve received. People are not remaining silent on this,” Hawk says Wednesday. “It affects the public more when it’s a small child that doesn’t have that right to make decisions and gets put into these situations and things like this happen. That’s probably one reason we’re getting more help from the public, because that’s something they’re not going to stand for.”
Hawk says it was a confidential tip from a concerned citizen that lead police to a stolen white truck listed in the investigation. Joseph and Jaceiden were last seen entering the vehicle with an unidentified man around 1 a.m. Tuesday. The truck went missing afterwards until police found it stashed behind two abandoned homes on Henry Avenue Wednesday morning.
Janaya says she is hopeful the tips will continue to come in until the person who murdered her father and little brother is caught.
“I believe justice will come, we just have to wait. It makes me sick it has to be like that, but if we’re patient, I just know this case won’t go unsolved,” she says.
Family members have planned a candlelight vigil at 6 Stuart Avenue to honor Joseph and Jaceiden. It will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.