A three-year-old girl walked more than a mile down a busy Florida road to her grandmother’s house to get help after her father allegedly killed her mother, officials said tonight.
Sgt. Kristin Thompson of Lake Bay County Sheriff Department described the actions of the tragic toddler as ‘kind of heroic’ and praised the little girl for managing to cover such a distance to raise help.
The sheriff’s department named Johnny Lashawn Shipman, 36, as the suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest in the death of Kristi Lynne Delaney, 26, of Mascotte, 40 miles west of Orlando.
The little girl knew the route to her grandmother’s house because she had walked it with her mother, Thompson said.
When she arrived, she told her grandmother that her ‘mommy was sick’.
Thompson said Shipman did not live in the home with Delaney and her daughter. Thompson would not disclose exactly what the girl saw or told investigators, or whether she identified the assailant as her father.
‘She went down to her grandmother’s and said she couldn’t get her mom to wake up,’ Thompson said.
However, they did say that she was in the house at the time of her mother’s death and officers said that Delaney was found on the living room floor of her South Bay Lake Road home at around 12.42 p.m. on Tuesday.
Lake County Sherriff’s deputies have named Shipman as the only suspect in the murder and believe he has fled north to Alabama.
Authorities warned the public to avoid Shipman, who they described as dangerous and revealed that they believed he was engaged in an ‘on again off again’ relationship with Delaney.
Indeed, Facebook pictures on Delaney’s profile show Shipman with his daughter in pictures dated from Halloween.
The victim’s mother, said her daughter had an abusive relationship with Shipman. Court documents show Delaney had filed a restraining order against him.
‘I know he was obsessed with Kristi,’ Delaney’s mother said to WOGX.Com.
‘He didn’t want to let her go. She didn’t want to be with him. And I think he felt if he couldn’t have her, nobody could.’
The 3-year-old child is currently in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Shipman has an arrest record that includes battery, burglary and drug charges since 1995, according to court records.
He is currently on probation, according to the agency’s website.