Jaclyn Dobbs (1) & Ja'nya Murphy (21), November 9, 2021, Wheeling, Cook County, Illinois
Updated: Aug 20, 2022
November 9, 2021 about 10:22 p.m. the Wheeling (Illinois) Police Department received a missing persons report regarding 21-year-old Ja'nya Murphy and her 1-year-old Jaclyn 'Angel' Dobbs had not been responding. Family members confirmed that Ja'nya had not been to work since the prior day. They lived together at 365 Inland Drive in Wheeling, Illinois.
Police & Fire Departments accessed the balcony of her apartment after finding the door unlocked, responding to a well-being check at her home. This revealed that mother Ja'nya was deceased as a result of a homicide, and Angel was missing.
The Wheeling Police Department along with the Northwest Suburban Major Crimes Assistance Team worked together in locating Angel, bringing her disappearance to the public's eye.
Unfortunately, days later, it was reported, and shortly after, confirmed, that Angel's little body was found in a retention pond in northwest Indiana near Interstate 80 at the Kennedy Avenue exit ramp, found by construction workers.
Ja'nya's cause of death was confirmed she had been strangled and died of asphyxiation.
Shortly after Angel's lifeless body was found, law enforcement arrested Ahmeel Fowler as the person of interest. He was found and arrested in Springfield, Missouri. He was not Angel's father. He was however in some form of a relationship with Ja'nya, and he was last seen with them at a mall the last time the girls were seen alive.
Prosecutors said in court that Fowler's phone allegedly placed him at the apartment and at the retention pond. The mother's body had bruises and smelled like bleach, according to court documents. Fowler smelled like bleach when he was arrested in Missouri. Background allegedly shows this was not the first time Fowler put his hands on Ja'nya. In a separate incident in 2017, Fowler was charged with unlawful restraint and two counts of domestic battery.
It was later revealed that Fowler was an ex-boyfriend to Ja'nya. According to ABC 7, there was video and cellphone data which placed Fowler shopping for baby shoes with Jaclyn and Ja'nya at Woodfield Mall on Monday, Nov. 8 2021 and placed him at her apartment later that day. After the shopping, Ja'nya spoke to her then-current boyfriend on the phone about 11:00 pm that night.
Our deepest condolences to their families, friends and all those who know and love them. May justice served harsh and swift.
Ahmeel Fowler: Charged with 1st Degree Murder
Rolling Meadows Cook County Courthouse
Dates continue as of August 2022.