Mother of five allegedly murdered two of her children and enlisted the others to dismember their siblings

Avantae Deven (left) faces multiple charges relating to the disappearance and death of her children Blake Deven (top right) and London Deven (bottom right)  (FBI/Fayetteville Police Department)
Avantae Deven (left) faces multiple charges relating to the disappearance and death of her children Blake Deven (top right) and London Deven (bottom right) (FBI/Fayetteville Police Department)

Disturbing details laid out in the case against a North Carolina mother accused of killing two of her five children reveal that she allegedly forced one of her other children to help dismember their sibling’s bodies and said she would pin the murders on them if necessary.

Avantae Deven, 63, of Fayetteville, was arrested on June 23 and charged in the death of her daughter, London Deven, and the disappearance of her son, Blake Deven, who is presumed dead, according to Fayetteville Police. All five of her children were adopted.

Two sets of human remains were found in a barrel in the backyard of an Autryville home in April. One set was determined to be London. The other remains are undergoing further testing, but according to court records obtained by The Fayetteville Observer, they “preliminarily appear” to belong to Blake.

Deven allegedly forced one of the other children to buy the tools and dismember their siblings’ bodies, according to court records.

She is accused of telling the child who allegedly helped her: “If this ever gets found out, you need to take the blame because I will get the death penalty and because of your age you won’t get in trouble if you take the blame.”

When the Department of Social Services got involved, Deven got “nervous” and recruited a family friend to impersonate her son during a home visit, according to the court records that cite the individual’s interview with police.

Fayetteville Police only learned about Blake’s disappearance in late 2023 when another one of her children, who was a teenager, called 911 threatening to kill himself, prompting officers to respond to the home.

Avantae Deven’s mug shot after her arrest (Fayetteville Police Department)
Avantae Deven’s mug shot after her arrest (Fayetteville Police Department)

“He had not seen his brother Blake in five years and that the last time he saw Blake, he had a broken arm and that he is now dead,” according to the arrest report.

Lead investigator Sgt. Jeff Locklear told reporters last week that investigators were able to confirm that Blake had been missing since 2017, when he was 10 years old.

However, he was not reported missing by his mother until January 2024. Deven told police she last saw her son in 2022 when he was allegedly leaving for a Buddhist retreat.

Investigators say evidence collected indicates that Blake was starved and abused “until his body could no longer take the inhumane treatment” and his health began to fail in 2017, according to court records. He became lethargic and eventually lost consciousness, but his mother refused to get help for Blake and he ultimately died.

Deven allegedly hatched a plan to dispose of the boy’s remains and then forced one of Blake’s siblings to buy the tools needed to dismember his body.

Blake Deven, who went missing in 2017 when he was just 10 years old (FBI)
Blake Deven, who went missing in 2017 when he was just 10 years old (FBI)

It is alleged that Deven then incinerated Blake’s remains in a burn barrel in the backyard of the Eichelberger Drive home and removed any evidence of the boy’s death from the home, according to the affidavit.

“Avantae developed a plan to hide Blake’s remains, and she forced another person in the household to participate,” he added. “They dismembered him and burned his remains.”

During the course of their investigation of Blake’s disappearance, police discovered the death of London Deven, who was last seen alive in 2019.

After the family moved to a house on Berriedale Drive, one of the children fled the state, but later returned and asked about London. According to the court records, Deven told them: “I had to put her in a mental institution.”

But on April 10, Fayetteville police found a metal burn barrel that contained partial human skeletal remains of two children. One set was confirmed to be London Deven, according to the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

London Deven was last seen alive in 2019 (FBI)
London Deven was last seen alive in 2019 (FBI)

According to the warrant, investigators recovered surveillance video of Deven with the two remaining adopted children in her care at an area Walmart purchasing a red cooler, in which the record suggests London’s remains were found.

Police and the Department of Social Services (DSS) interviewed the three surviving children who all gave graphic details of the horrific treatment they allegedly endured, which included being malnourished and physically abused while being trapped in a small, dark room with only a plastic container to use as a bathroom.

“Deven kept them in small rooms in complete darkness at times,” Locklear said. “They were given little or no food, they could earn nourishment through doing ‘paperwork.’ That meant they had to write hundreds of paragraphs to apologize for misbehavior. It is alleged some of the children were also beaten to the point of needing medical care but were only given natural cures like honey.”

When the children misbehaved, they were allegedly forced to do “paperwork” which “consisted of writing hundreds and frequently thousands of sentences and paragraphs apologizing for some misdeed they had supposedly done.”

Deven is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of child abuse causing serious bodily injury, two counts of destroying human remains/concealing an unnatural death and one count of kidnapping.

She remains in the Cumberland County jail where she is being held without bail.