Crime & Courts

Man arrested in connection with killing of Anchorage mother and daughter also faces charges of child sex abuse

Update, 10:50 a.m. Thursday:

Anchorage police said in an update that the missing vehicle has been found.

Update, 7:30 a.m. Thursday:

Anchorage police Thursday asked for help locating a 2014 black Lincoln Navigator that belonged to the woman killed in last week’s double homicide. Family has identified her as Raechyl Blackshear. The vehicle has Alaska license plates CHZCKE, police wrote in a statement.

Police asked anyone with information about the vehicle to call 907-786-8900 and press 0, or to call 311 and press 1.

Original story:

A man who police deemed a “person of interest” in a domestic-violence double homicide was arrested in New York, Anchorage police said Wednesday.

Court documents that became available Wednesday accuse the man, 39-year-old Jalonni Blackshear, of sexually abusing his wife’s 14-year-old daughter on March 30 — about two weeks before his wife and her daughter were reportedly found dead in an East Anchorage home.

Jalonni Blackshear faces three felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor. As of Wednesday evening, he had not been charged in relation to the homicide investigation.

He had worked as a correctional officer until early April, and police on Tuesday tied him to the deaths of an unidentified 35-year-old woman and a 14-year-old girl.

Family and friends of Raechyl Blackshear named her and her daughter, Jayla, as the people who were killed.

On March 30, Raechyl Blackshear took her daughter to the hospital for a sexual assault examination because she said she was raped, according to a sworn affidavit written by Anchorage Police Detective John Kleinsmith. At the hospital, the daughter answered questions from staff about a rape that she said occurred that morning at her house, perpetrated by someone she knew, the affidavit said.

The mother and daughter were directed to the Alaska CARES Child Advocacy Center, Kleinsmith wrote. Three other children who live at the home were also interviewed there, the affidavit said.

There was an “extensive history of domestic violence” with the family, Kleinsmith wrote, and the Office of Children’s Services had taken emergency custody of the children in 2019 in reference to domestic violence and safety issues after a 4-year-old relative grabbed a loaded gun from the kitchen table and shot herself. The girl survived.

All the children were afraid they may be placed in foster homes if they talked to interviewers at the advocacy center, the affidavit said.

On April 1, an Anchorage Police Department detective collected two DNA samples from Jalonni Blackshear in accordance with a search warrant, the charges said.

Friends and family said that was the day they had last seen Raechyl Blackshear and that she missed several shifts at work in the following days, which raised red flags. Raechyl Blackshear worked as a nurse at both Alaska Native Medical Center and Providence Transitional Care Center, according to her friend Elizabeth Coste.

On April 4, Raechyl Blackshear and her 14-year-old daughter again made contact with police, Kleinsmith wrote in the affidavit.

On April 6, Jalonni Blackshear ended his employment as a correctional officer at the Anchorage Correctional Complex, where he had worked since 2018, according to Department of Corrections spokeswoman Betsy Holley. She said additional information about his employment is confidential, including the reasons and circumstances surrounding his departure from the job.

The Department of Corrections “was not aware of any investigation until after Mr. Blackshear left state service,” Holley wrote in an email Wednesday. The department does not have a one-size-fits-all policy to address situations where employees are involved in felony-level criminal investigations, she said.

On April 7, the day after he ended his employment at the corrections department, Jalonni Blackshear resigned his Alaska Police Standards Council Corrections Officer Commission and left Alaska, the affidavit said.

The charging documents related to sexual abuse of a minor were filed April 13 — two days before police reportedly found Raechyl and Jayla Blackshear dead. The affidavit said that DNA taken from Jalonni Blackshear “cannot be excluded as the source of the DNA” collected during the sexual assault examination of Raechyl Blackshear’s daughter.

Shannon Thompson, Raechyl Blackshear’s cousin, said concerned family and friends had asked police to do welfare checks on their home after they were unable to reach her. On Friday, police said in a statement that officers found two people dead inside. Police initially deemed the deaths suspicious but did not immediately label it as a homicide investigation.

On Saturday, police asked for the public’s help finding Jalonni Blackshear because he “currently has active warrants.” The department did not answer questions about the warrant this week, but the sexual abuse charges became publicly available on Wednesday after Jalonni Blackshear was arrested. A police spokeswoman said Tuesday that the warrant had been sealed.

Police tied Jalonni Blackshear to the deaths of his wife and her daughter on Tuesday morning in a statement, describing him as a “person of interest,” but declined to answer questions or provide further information about the double homicide.

On Wednesday morning, police said he had been arrested in New York state but declined to answer questions or provide additional information about the arrest.

A news report from NBC New York said Jalonni Blackshear was arrested by Homeland Security Investigations agents Wednesday in the New York City borough of Staten Island. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to questions about the arrest.

Friends and family have described Raechyl Blackshear as smart and driven, and a loving mother. She left her job as a certified nursing assistant at Providence Transitional Care Center in 2016 to continue her education and returned to the center in 2019 as a registered nurse after she earned her nursing degree, according to a statement from Providence Alaska Medical Center.

“Raechyl was spunky, always smiling, had a positive attitude and nice things to say about everyone,” the hospital said. “Even when things were hard at work, she had an infectious can-do attitude. Several of her colleagues say she was like a sister and motivated them to do their best.”

Jayla Blackshear attended Begich Middle School. She took after her mother, cousin Shannon Thompson said, and was a bright student who was looking forward to high school.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

Sponsored