INDIANAPOLIS — Newly released court records detail what led to the murder of 18-year-old Da’Tara Johnson at an apartment complex on Indy’s south side.
The victim’s boyfriend, 20-year-old Anthony York, was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona.
In mid-January, neighbors at the Stone Lake Apartments told police they heard arguing followed by two gunshots.
Police found Da’tara Johnson inside her own apartment a short time later.
According to court records, surveillance cameras at the apartment complex showed the suspect leaving the victims apartment and walk a short distance to a nearby dumpster where he disposed of a bag with clothes and papers.
Those papers included bond paperwork with York’s name included.
Da’Tara’s neighbors and family told police from the beginning they suspected the crime was domestic related because she frequently fought with York.
York is charged with murder and carrying a handgun without a license.
“This case has brought light that teens go through domestic violence. Teen dating abuse is something that’s happening in Indianapolis,” said Indy’s director of domestic violence, Danyette Smith.
Danyette Smith believes Da’Tara’s death serves as a tragic reminder that friends and family need to report warning signs of domestic abuse.
“We want the community to feel comfortable speaking up,” said Smith.
“You’re not alone. You don’t have to deal with this alone,” said Johnson’s mother Amber Freeman.
Just last week, Da’Tara’s mother and family celebrated what would have been the victim’s 19th birthday by marching around Monument Circle and releasing balloons with the goal of raising awareness about domestic violence.
“We just want everybody to know if something is going on, just speak up, because I don’t want anybody else to go through this. It hurts,” said Freeman.
The affidavit details that police tracked York down to Arizona by listening to jail phone calls involving the suspect’s brother.
Court records claim after being arrested, York denied killing Johnson and even blamed an unnamed man in a mask.
When asked why his version of the story didn’t match with surveillance video from the scene, York stopped talking.
The suspect remains behind bars in Arizona awaiting extradition to Marion County.
“The untimely death of Da’Tara Johnson was tragic, and today I’m pleased that IMPD detectives identified and apprehended the suspect believed to be responsible for her unnecessary death,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams. “From the onset of this investigation, IMPD homicide detectives Steven Gray and Matthew Pankonie demonstrated undeniable sacrifice, meticulous investigative strategy, tireless effort, and incredible commitment to the investigation, family, and memory of Ms. Johnson.”
IMPD homicide detectives traveled to Phoenix and spent five days working with the U.S. Marshals and the Phoenix Police Department. On Feb. 10, York was arrested by a SWAT team.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Detective Steven Gray in the IMPD Homicide Office at (317) 327-3475 or e-mail him at Steven.Gray@indy.gov. Alternatively, you can call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-8477 or (TIPS) to remain anonymous.