A nearly week-long manhunt for the suspected shooter of a foster parent ended Wednesday when Miami-Dade police, assisted by U.S. Marshals, found the wanted teenager in his home and took him into custody.
Police believe that Christopher Edwards, 17, was the gunman in a convoluted and bizarre kidnapping scheme gone awry that was orchestrated by his mother, involved two of his younger siblings and in which the woman foster parenting the children was shot and wounded.
On Wednesday, Edwards was charged with attempted first-degree murder with a deadly weapon, armed burglary and the kidnapping of two children. Edwards’ mother, Candi Nicole Johnson, 34, was arrested last week on identical charges. Meanwhile, Wendy Edmond, 77, remained hospitalized Wednesday with injuries to outer extremities, police said.
Police say that Johnson’s four other children, a 5-year-old, another 15 months and 2-year-old twins, were removed from her custody by Florida’s Department of Children & Families in July. Then, last Friday morning before sunrise, police said, Johnson knocked on the door of Edmond’s home and forced her way inside with a male Edmond did not recognize.
Then, according to police, Edwards, the male, and Johnson began searching the home for the children. That’s when, police said, Edmond began to fight back and tried to get control of the kids. Edwards then pulled out his gun and shot Edmond. Then, police said, standing over her, he fired several more times.
With the 5-year-old and 15-month-old in tow, Johnson and Edwards took off. Police were notified — likely by Edmond — and it didn’t take them long to find Johnson at her Little River home and recover the children. The children were turned over to DCF. It was unclear where the twins were staying.
State records show Johnson was at odds with DCF as far back as March, when police said she pulled a gun on a DCF worker who tried to remove her children at a home in Martin County.
“Johnson proceeded to duct tape the children’s mouths shut and ushered the children out the rear of the residence to avoid further contact with DCF,” police wrote in her arrest report stemming from the Martin County case.
State records also show she served more than four years in prison from 2007 to 2012 after convictions for child abuse and fleeing law enforcement.
Edwards’ juvenile record is extensive, Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show. He was first arrested in March 2016 by Miami-Dade Schools Police and charged with burglary of an unoccupied structure and criminal mischief. He was placed on three years probation. Then in November of that year, Miami Gardens police arrested the teen for trespassing. The charges were later dropped.
A month later, Edwards was charged again by Miami Gardens police, this time for robbery with a deadly weapon. State records show that case was dropped. And last year Miami-Dade cops charged Edwards with grand theft. That case, too, was dropped.