Bail hearing for accused killed to resume Thursday
The family of missing 14-year-old Yashanee Vaughn is planning to draw attention to her continued disappearance in the days leading up Thursday, July 7, when a bail hearing for her accused killer resumes.
Parrish Bennette Jr., 16, is charged with murdering the girl on March 19. He has pleaded not guilty. Her body has not yet been found.
A hearing on bail for Bennette is scheduled to continue Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The hearing began two weeks ago, but was continued by the court.
As part of a publicity campaign to draw attention to Yashanee's disappearance, the family released a letter to Bennette from Vaughn's mother, Shaquita Louis. According to family spokesperson Michelle Bart, the family made arrangements for the letter to be first published in The Sunday Oregonian. In it, Louis pleads with Bennette to disclose the location of Vaughn's body.
'The family's focus is on finding Yashanee and this letter to Bennette is an attempt by Shaquita in reaching out to his family, friends, and attorney to understand what Yashanee's parents and family are going through. The letter may or may not ever reach Bennette, but hopefully those that know something will do the right thing and call the police with the whereabouts of their beautiful Yashanee,' Bart said. following the publication of the letter.
The bail hearing began on June 24. Prosecutors presented much of their evidence against him during the day-long proceeding. Among other things, they revealed that Bennette told his father that he accidentally shot Vaughn in his bedroom at the family home and hid the body.
Two of Bennette's friends told investigators that he gave them a gun shortly after the alleged shooting and asked them to get rid of it. Investigators have recovered the gun. And they found a large quantity of blood in the bedroom that matched Vaughn's DNA.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 in the case. Tips can be made online at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com or by calling 503-823-HELP. Everyone providing information can remain anonymous.
Louis had met Bennette and knew he was acquainted with her daughter.
Here is the text of the letter:
Because we know each other personally, I will skip the formalities. I write this letter with an aching heart and the desire to understand exactly what Yashanee did to deserve this and why my family has to suffer. We don't eat or sleep and I can't even look at Shanee's friends without thinking about what and who my daughter could've become.
The day after Yashanee was murdered, you became a parent. I ask you to put yourself in my position, how would you feel if this was your daughter? You and Quinn got to celebrate your first Mother's and Father's Day with your daughter, while Yoshawnee and I grieved our first without Shanee.
I carried Shanee for 9 months. I miss my baby so bad, a part of me has been taken. Parrish you know how close me and Shanee were. Now that you have your own daughter, can you begin to imagine how I feel?
Parrish, one of the things that confuse me the most, is the way you smiled at me and my family at the bail hearing. You, me and Shanee smiled and shared laughs together. I treated you as my own; I welcomed you into my home and often showed you more love than your own natural family. My son Keontae looked up to you as a big brother.
Now that I have asked God to come into my life, I pray for you often. I've even began to ask God to help me forgive you. Along with the City of Portland, I pray that God will speak to your heart and mind, so you can reveal the EXACT LOCATION where my daughter Yashanee Laface Vaughn is at.
Parrish, I'm not even mad anymore. I'm just hurting and need to lay Yashanee to rest properly. We are all tired (you included). Only you can end this horrible nightmare so we (you included) can try and move on with our lives.
Parrish, please tell my mother where I'm at! - Yashanee Vaughn