Lazhanae Harris, 13
Lazhanae Harris, a black 13-year-old girl, was found stabbed to death in a rundown apartment in the 100 block of East 97th Street in Historic South Central Los Angeles on Saturday, March 7, 2009. Preshae Bryan Tanner, a 22-year-old black woman, was charged in the murder and has pleaded not guilty. Tanner was romantically involved with a man who was staying at the apartment, police said.
The Times' Kim Christensen and Garrett Therolf have details today of Lazhanae's short life in a story about the deaths of at least 268 children between January 2008 and early August 2009 who, at some point, had come under the protection of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Seventy-six of those deaths were determined to be homicides, according to internal county documents:
The loving attention that eluded Lazhanae Harris in life flooded the New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at her funeral in March.
Family and friends, mostly youngsters, packed the South Los Angeles sanctuary that day and "all seemingly admired this girl," recalled congregation clerk Myrna Smith.
"It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. They were all 12-, 13-, 14-year-old kids. And they were all crying."
Days before, Lazhanae, 13, had been found in a rundown apartment in South Los Angeles, face down on a bloody mattress. Her femoral artery had been slashed.
Shunted from place to place for most of her life, she was left with no guardian but the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. The agency took her from her mother's custody at age 3, placing her in a series of homes that didn't last.
Read more about Lazhanae's life: Lazhanae Harris, 13 and on the run, was stabbed to death in L.A.