Fugitive Kidnapper Kills Himself 1
Unlikely Manhunt Leads to Tragedy 2
Did System Enable Mom Killer? 3

Delvonte Tisdale, 16-Year-Old Runaway, Found Mutilated in a Car in Massachusetts

By Pete Kotz in homicide, unsolved
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 10:18 am
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UPDATE: Anthony Tisdale, Delvonte's father, says his son loved Charlotte and being in the ROTC. Yet other relatives have said he often fought with his father and was a frequent runaway. Police still don't know how he went missing in Charlotte and ended up dead in Massachusetts within 24 hours. See update: Police believe Delvonte likely fell from a plane...

16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale didn't get along with his father. The family had recently moved from Baltimore to Charlotte, and the boy wasn't exactly happy with his new city or his family life. He didn't like being in the Air Force Jr. ROTC program, and he wanted to go back to Baltimore.

So a week ago, he decided to run away. Relatives believe he got a ride with two people intending to drive to Boston. Delvonte thought he would be dropped off in Baltimore.

Who those people are or what happened next is up to speculation. All we know right now is that Delvonte was later found dead in an abandoned car in Milton, Massachusetts. His body was so mutilated that a coroner was unable to determine the manner of death.

Police positively identified the body after flying to Charlotte over the weekend to retrieve fingerprints and DNA samples from Delvonte's home. They also discovered a school hall pass in his pocket.

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Detectives are checking the "remote possibility" that Delvonte may have decided to stow away on a plane
UPDATE: Detectives investigate whether Delvonte fell from a plane.

Police in Massachusetts are investigating whether Delvonte may have fallen from a plane that was preparing to land at Logan International Airport. Though they describe that as a "remote possibility," the latest move seems to be more about investigating every possibility rather than seeing it as a legitimate hunch.

By all accounts, Delvonte's been described as a polite, respectful, likable and smart kid -- likely too smart to believe he could stow away in a jet. After all, it's not that easy to sneak undetected onto an airport runway these days.

Under the prevailing theory, he would have had to climb into the wheel well and survive the sub-zero temperatures of being airborne, only to be dumped to the ground when the wheels opened for landing.

Then again, detectives may be just checking this theory because they have little else to go on. Mysterious is the case of a runaway boy who's found hundreds of miles away from his home in Milton, where he had no ties to the area. Police say his body was found mutilated in an upscale neighborhood with broken arms and legs and severe trauma to his head.

UPDATE: Delvonte's dad says his son loved Charlotte and he has no idea why the boy ran away.

Though other relatives have said that Delvonte was unhappy in Charlotte and often fought with his father, dad Anthony Tisdale painted a much different picture yesterday. He says that he last saw his son about 10 p.m. Sunday night. By the next morning, he reported him missing.

Yet by 9:30 on Monday night, Delvonte would be found dead in Milton, Massachusetts. Police still don't know how he traveled so far in such a short period of time, or who he may have been with.

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Within 24 hours, Delvonte had gone missing in Charlotte and ended up dead in Massachusetts
Other relatives have said that Delvonte missed is old home in Baltimore, which he left for North Carolina three years ago. They also said he frequently ran away and never wanted to joined the armed forces, despite being in his school's ROTC program. But his father drew a much different portrait at a press conference.

Anthony Tisdale describes a model son, one who was both dutiful and never missed school. "My son was a hardworking man," he told the Boston Globe. "He didn't frequent the streets. He didn't listen to a lot of out-of-the-way music. He played video games, and spent time with the family. We did projects around the house. And, you know, he loved the ROTC."

"Our son was ecstatic with Charlotte. He loved Charlotte. He loved the area. He loved his high school. His friends were great. He was really able to associate himself with a lot of good folks at North Mecklenburg High, and with the ROTC group. It became part of who he was at North Mecklenburg, and Charlotte was a great city for him."

"That's part of the reason why we came here to Charlotte because Mecklenburg High offered the ROTC program here, and it was a good spot for everybody. But you know, being here such a short time and losing my son, is extremely difficult."

Who knows what to make of the differences between what Anthony is saying this week, and much different picture related by Delvonte's step-brothers and sisters last week. Maybe dad didn't know his son's true feelings. Then again, most fathers -- especially grieving ones -- would be loathe to admit their difficulties to the media immediately following such a tragic loss.

See update: Police believe Delvonte likely fell from a plane...

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