Sad story of Keyona Griffin – What happened to Her?

The sad story of Keyona Griffin. Immortality is a concept we only see teased in novels and science fiction movies. In the famous words of Benjamin Franklin, “Nothing in the world is certain except taxes and death” Although, some people can know when their time to rest is near, and they bid their final goodbyes to their loved ones.


Still, out of the blue, death comes to most, regardless of its certainty.


That was the case for Keyona Griffin, who was part of a Michigan family murdered minutes after she called 911 to report a crime.


Keyona Griffin before her death. Photo: @keyona.griffin.9 on Facebook
Keyona Griffin before her death. Photo: @keyona.griffin.9 on Facebook

Who is Keyona Griffin?


Keyona Griffin is a murder victim who, on March 2019, called 911 to report her aunt’s murder and that she was also in danger.


Sadly, by the time officers from the Grand Rapids Police Department arrived at her location (533 Sheldon SE), she was already dead.


Daughter of Ongah Griffin and sister to Stanford Cummings II, Keyona Griffin was 25 years old at the time of her tragic demise. Keyona Griffin was born on 8 March 1994 in the United States of America and was of Afro-American descent.

14 Facts about Keyona Griffin


Full nameKeyona Renee Griffin
Date of birthMarch 8, 1994
Zodiac SignPisces
Date of deathMarch 13, 2019
Age at death25 years old
Place of deathSheldon, Michigan, USA
Hair ColorBlack
Eye colorBlack
RelativesOngah Griffin (Mother), Stanford Cummings II (Brother), Cherletta Baber-Bey (Aunt)
Marital statusUnmarried

What happened to Keyona Griffin?


On Wednesday, 13 March 2019, at 10:25 a.m. Grand Rapids police dispatch received a distress call. The caller, yet to identify herself, whispered, seeking help and reporting that her aunt had been killed.


She gave her location (533 Sheldon Avenue SE) to the dispatcher and requested that the police come fast, “please hurry now” were her exact words. The dispatcher asked for her name, “Keyona,” she answered moments before the call disconnected.


Seven minutes and 41 seconds after the call from Keyona, three police officers arrived at her location.


After knocking on the door and getting no response, one officer asked the dispatcher to try and get Keyona back on the line, but she did not pick up.


At this moment, the worst had already happened.


The late Charletta Baber-Bay (Left) and Keyona Griffin (Right)
Photo: @KeyonaGriffin, Facebook (modified by author)
source UGC


After peering through a window and checking the back of the house, having found nothing, the officers decided to leave.


Two hours and 18 minutes later, after the officers left 533 Sheldon Avenue SE, 911 dispatch received a call from one Sanford Cummings II (Keyona’s brother).


Sobbing, he reported that in an upstairs bedroom where they resided, his sister lay not moving.


He said she was shot four times, including once in the face, and blood was everywhere. Seven minutes later, after the call from Sanford Cummings II, Grand Rapids police officers returned to 553 Sheldon.


On arrival, the officers also found Keyona’s aunt, 47-year-old Cherletta Baber-Bey, lifeless, lying on her bed, covered with a blanket. Keyona’s aunt still had earplugs logged in her ears and a tablet playing. She appeared to have been shot at the back of her head.


Keyona Griffin’s killer?


The alleged killer of Keyona Griffin and her aunt, Cherletta Baber-Bay, is Derrel Demon Brown, the alias Jay.


Derrel demon brown was the boyfriend of Keyona’s aunt.


He lived with Cherletta Baber-Bay alongside Jacqueline Baber-Bey, her 65-year-old mother, who was working when the tragedy occurred.


Derrel Brown, The Main suspect in Keyona’s murder Photo: @GrandRapidsPD, Twitter


Only known as “Jay” at first, the discovery of his stint in prison helped unearth his true identity. That came about when an officer found old jail letters to Cherletta Baber-Bey from ‘Jay,’ where he revealed his real name was Derrell.


When searching for evidence around the area, a detective found a tossed box of ammunition next to a white plastic bag with what looked like a gun muzzle sticking out in an alley northwest of 553 Sheldon. Later on, tests carried out matched the gun (9 mm Hi-Point pistol) found in the alley to bullet casings found where Keyona and her aunt were murdered.


Gun discovered

Inside Cherletta Baber-Bey’s bedroom, police found an empty Hi-Point gun box which indicated the gun’s serial number and purchase permit. On running the serial number, the police discovered that the gun belonged to a woman and that she had reported it as missing in 2017. The woman had also filed a complaint for receiving harassing texts from her then-ex-boyfriend ‘Jay.’ Interestingly, the woman’s gun went missing when she was in a relationship with ‘Jay.’


  That information made Darrell Demon Brown a person of interest in the investigation of the double homicide, and the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office proceeded to issue two warrant charges of open murder for him. As of today, Darrell is yet to be arrested.


It is believed his family members and associates helped him evade capture. In 2021, U.S. Marshals declared Derrell Demon Brown, 47 at the time, one of the nation’s 15 most wanted criminals and offered a reward of $25,000 for anyone bearing information that would lead to his arrest.


Her  funeral 


Keyona’s funeral service was on 21 March 2019 at Madison Christian Reformed Church, 1441 Madison Ave.


Although her death was untimely, her memory lives on.



Keyona Griffin was an African-American woman who was 25 years old when she called 911 to report a crime in Sheldon, Michigan.

Minutes after making the call, she and her aunt were both shot and killed.

Her murderer, Derrel Demon Brown, who was dating her aunt, has not been apprehended as of yet.

The wake and funeral service for Keyona were both held at Madison Christian Reformed Church on March 21, 2019.

She did not have any children, but she did have a mother, a brother, and an aunt.

On March 13, 2019, the tragic event that led to Keyona’s death took place.

She was shot a total of four times, including once in the face. Despite the untimeliness of her passing, her legacy will live on.

Also, read about Taelyn Dobson 

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