Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley is announcing that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of 24-year-old, Deiontae Shawnrico McMillian of Fayetteville, North Carolina. McMillian will be charged with Concealment of a Homicidal Death in connection with the strangulation of Danica Shernay Ford, mother of two, (22 years old) of Concord, North Carolina. McMillian is currently in custody and being questioned by Will County Detectives at the Fayetteville North Carolina Police Department.
On November 12, 2018 at 9am, Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area of Jefferson Street and Eden Lane in Joliet Township regarding a deceased black female. A man who was hunting on private property discovered the body in an open hole in a heavily wooded area and called 911.
On November 13, 2018, the Will County Coroner’s Office conducted an autopsy and concluded that the cause of death was strangulation. During the autopsy, a memorial tattoo was observed on Fords’s leg, which assisted detectives in positively identifying Ms. Ford. Detectives were able to piece together information from the tattoo, which led to the identity of the victim who had resided in the state of North Carolina.
Since the onset of this investigation, detectives have spent hundreds of hours following up on crime tips, evidence, and tracking down the offender. Dozens of tips from the public were reviewed; several hotels in Will and Cook County were examined; cell phone records; social media; and Ford’s vehicle, all played a major role in tracking McMillian down from Joliet and Cook County back to North Carolina.
Initial reports indicate that at the beginning of 2018, an acquaintance offered McMillian a job at an insurance agency in Schaumburg, Illinois. McMillian left North Carolina and came to Illinois and worked that job for a very short period. Ford eventually came to Illinois where the couple moved from hotel to hotel, while Ford also worked as a dancer and hair stylist. Detectives believe it was at this time, that McMillian and Ford began having domestic problems where he ultimately killed her and discarded her body in the woods in Joliet Township.
Detectives do not believe that Ford was murdered in Will County, nor does evidence suggest this. Ford’s body was discarded by the offender in a shallow grave in unincorporated Will County and set on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence. Will County detectives worked tirelessly to piece together Ford’s last days, which ultimately led detectives onto the trail of McMillian.
Will County Sheriff’s detectives are currently in North Carolina where they continue working this case with McMillian in custody. Detectives were also able to locate Ford’s vehicle at a North Carolina residence belonging to relatives of McMillian, with Ford’s North Carolina license plates removed presumably by McMillian.
Details of McMillian’s extradition are not known at this time, however upon his return to Will County he will be held at the Will County Adult Detention Facility. Bond has been set at $2 million.
When additional information becomes available in regards to this case, the Will County Sheriff’s Office will provide additional details when appropriate.