DAYTON, Ohio – Detectives investigating the fatal shooting of a Middletown woman in Dayton are interviewing a person of interest in the case, according to WCPO media partner WHIO-TV, but authorities do not believe robbery was a motive because of items found with her and her daughter.
Brittany Russell was found shot to death in a parked car behind a Dayton apartment complex Wednesday morning after police said she took her 6-month-old daughter without informing the infant's father.
Dayton police found the girl, named Haven, in the car near her mother's dead body. The baby was unharmed.
The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office ruled Russell's death a homicide.
No weapons or drugs were inside the car, Lt. Andrew Booher said during a press conference Thursday. Earlier, police and family members said Russell had used heroin.
Detectives were backtracking to put together a timeline of the past day or two of Russell’s life, according to Booher. Her last known contact was Tuesday evening, when the father of the baby, Chris Edwards, said Russell told him she would return Haven to his Middletown home later that night.
However, Russell never showed, police said.
“Right now, everyone is a person of interest, because we want to find out who was with Brittany,” he said.
Another question facing detectives: What was Russell doing in Dayton? Booher said police weren’t aware of her having any past there, and were sharing information with Middletown police in an effort to gather more information on her background.
Detectives were staying late to work on the case, according to Booher. The baby left strapped in the back seat of a car with her dead mother only survived the cold February night because the car was left running, he said.
“We’re always very concerned when children are involved,” Booher said. “That’s why the detectives were here late last night...We want to go after this person. It’s more of a tragedy when there’s a child involved.”