Search resumes for Aveion Lewis' body

January 14, 2010
(Page 3 of 6)

Teams are continuing the extensive search today.  They will continue to search wooded areas and the banks of the Roanoke River, as well as follow up on leads.  The Roanoke Police Department again thanks the public for their ongoing support and cooperation.  Citizens are asked to call the Police Department at (540) 853-2212 with information regarding this investigation.  Charges have been placed in relation to this investigation.

Brandon Lockett, age 24 of Roanoke, has been charged with felony child neglect, improper disposal of a human body, and obstruction of justice.

Roanoke Police searched another area Tuesday for the remains of two-year-old Aveion Lewis.

Roanoke Police announced they believe the toddler is dead and was never actually abducted.

Brandon Lockett initially told investigators and News 7 three men entered his King Charles Avenue home last Thursday night, attacked him, tied up another child, and then left with two- year-old Aveion Lewis.

A ransom note was reportedly left behind demanding $10,000.


Lewis' step dad even made a personal plea in front of our cameras.

"If they are hearing this, watching this, they can come get the money or let me know. I don't care about anything else in the world. You can have the money, you can have whatever, but I just want my son to come home," said Brandon Lockett, the boy's step-dad.

Aveion Lewis' reported abduction prompted a statewide ambler alert and the FBI quickly got involved.

Roanoke Police say they had some doubts early on.

"I think we had some reservations about the stories that we're being told but considering the child we couldn't afford to assume an abduction had not occurred," says Roanoke Police Chief Joe Gaskins.

Police say they kept getting conflicting stories from Avieon's step dad Brandon Lockett.

That led police on Tuesday to expand the ground search near the boy's Southeast Roanoke home, including a search of the Roanoke River.

Tuesday night, crews were searching an area near 20th street and Loudon Avenue.

Police say it's related to this investigation, but wouldn't give anymore details.

Police have said Lockett admitted the boy was never kidnapped and Aveion apparently died before investigators arrived last Thursday.

"It was with great regret and sadness that I inform you that our investigation has moved from an abduction to an investigation onto the death Aveion Malik Lewis," says Gaskins.

As of Tuesday, police have not found Aveion Lewis' remains.

Brandon Lockett is in police custody but he has not been charged with anything.

Right now, police are treating this as a death investigation and not a homicide.


UPDATE 5:20 pm

Step-father tells police the toddler is dead

In a news conference late Tuesday afternoon Roanoke City police say they do NOT believe that 2-year-old Aveion Lewis was abducted.  Chief Joe Gaskins says they think the toddler was dead before the 911 call was made last Thursday.  The step-father, Brandon Lockett, is in custody but has not been charged with a crime.  Police say Lockett has confessed that the baby died and was not abducted.

Gaskins says police were getting various degrees of cooperation from the step-father which led them to believe that he was not providing accurate details.

Gaskins would not comment on whether the child's mother was involved in the case. 

Last Thursday night the family reported that Aveion Lewis was taken from his home on King Charles Avenue.  It was reported that three men came in, attacked Aveion's stepfather, tied up another child, and then left with the two-year-old.  A ransom note was found at the scene.

Police had been doing a door-to-door search of the area, but today began searching the woods and river around the Lockett's southeast Roanoke home.  Authorities have not found the toddler's body.

Here is the full news release:

Roanoke Police Department Continues Investigation

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