22-year-old reports man raped her, then he kidnaps and kills her next day, TN cops say

A 22-year-old woman reported a man had sexually assaulted her — then the next day he killed her, police in eastern Tennessee said.

Danishka Sibaja-Mejia was found dead on April 5 at a home where two others had been shot, according to the Knoxville Police Department.

The two gunshot victims survived, but Sibaja-Mejia was dead by the time first responders arrived at the home, police said.

The autopsy report hasn’t come back yet revealing her cause of death, but Sibaja-Mejia wasn’t shot, Knoxville police communications manager Scott Erland said in a news conference broadcast by WBIR.

Investigators quickly identified 39-year-old Latawyne Osborne as a suspect in the woman’s death.

On April 4, the day before she died, Sibaja-Mejia reported to the Knoxville special crimes unit that Osborne had raped her a few days earlier, according to police.

He wasn’t taken into custody at the time she reported the incident, and now investigators have accused him of kidnapping and killing her the next day.

He was arrested April 5 when he arrived at a hospital with a gunshot wound, shortly after the incident that police say left Sibaja-Mejia dead and two others wounded, Knoxville authorities said.

“This was truly a heinous crime,” Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel said at the news conference.

As the investigation progressed, police identified three more individuals who they say were involved in the 22-year-old’s death.

Friends and family of Sibaja-Mejia affectionately referred to her as Tita. Screengrab from Daniela Chacon's Facebook post
Friends and family of Sibaja-Mejia affectionately referred to her as Tita. Screengrab from Daniela Chacon's Facebook post

On April 10, the Knoxville Police Department hosted a news conference to announce indictments for Osborne and three other people, one of whom is his mother.

The 59-year-old woman was indicted on charges of tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact, police said.

The two other individuals charged are 20-year-old Marquis Ellis and 31-year-old Edward Wilson, who face charges including felony murder, first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated rape, attempted first-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping, Knox County jail records show.

All four individuals were taken into custody, police said. Their attorneys’ information is not listed in Knox County records.

Sibaja-Mejia, who was affectionately called Tita, was known for being full of life, a friend said in a Facebook tribute written in Spanish. Hashtags JusticeforTita have been spreading on social media.

Sibaja-Mejia loved and was loved, her friend wrote. She said she wouldn’t rest until her sister gets the justice she was denied.

The news of Sibaja-Mejia’s death in the wake of her reporting her sexual assault drew an outcry from those who said the police failed to protect her.

“Justice for my baby Danishka. My heart aches for anybody who knew you cause to know you was a sweet sweet blessing,” one Facebook user wrote. “And to lose you is absolutely heart aching.”

If you have experienced sexual assault and need someone to talk to, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline for support at 1-800-656-4673 or visit the hotline's online chatroom.

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