Atlanta police on October 17 charged 24-year-old Lamora Williams with the murder of two toddlers on the previous Friday night. According to the warrant, Williams killed two-year-old Ke-Yaunte Penn and one-year-old Ja’Karter Penn by putting them in an oven and turning up the heat on them. The children were found with severe burn marks on their bodies, which gave away their manner of death even though official autopsies have yet to be finalized. Police arrived after receiving a call about an injury at Williams’ apartment building; on arrival they found the children as Williams claimed she had left the children with a cousin charged with babysitting, and that she had only recently arrived to find the children already dead. Investigators later determined there was no merit to the idea that Williams left the children with someone else. This was corroborated by witnesses at the apartment building, who testified that it was a common ocurrence for Williams to leave the children at home without any preorganized supervision. There was a third child in the home, three-year-old Jameel Penn Jr., who was found unharmed. Williams is currently being held without bond at Fulton County Jail on the charges of murder and cruelty to children.
Jameel Penn, the father of the children, reportedly received a video call from Williams that night so that she could show Penn the dead children on the floor of her apartment. Penn had last seen the children in person a month before, and commented at the vigil, “I ain’t got no soul no more.” Penn later wrote on a GoFundMe page that he wants to use this experience to help others, desiring “to be a difference maker in someone else’s life to prevent a child being hurt.”
According to Brenda Williams, Lamora’s mother, the family had been worried for some time about Lamora, especially after the father of the two children left Lamora about three months before this incident. “I told him something tragic is going to happen. She’s going to do something to those kids, she’s going to do something to herself,” Brenda Williams alleges. Other members of the family have expanded on those fears, believing that Lamora suffered from postpartum depression or other mental illnesses. It seems that the worries were such that Brenda Williams went as far as to contact the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services in an effort to either take custody of the children or simply remove them from Lamora’s custody, although it appears that never came to fruition. Tabitha Hollingworth, Lamora’s sister, took this as an opportunity to say the government had failed them and their children.