On November 15, 2010 Milton, MA a man called 911 after he saw a dead body in the middle of the road in his neighborhood. There was little identifying information or explanation about what had happened to this person to cause the end of their life.
Milton Detective Louis Bullard says they don’t typically have many calls in the area, which is an affluent, “old money” community. When he pulled up to the scene, he saw that there was a black male with significant trauma to his body. He was wearing nothing but a pair of shredded jeans and green khaki belt.
There was no identifying material other than a plastic card that was shattered into a plethora of small pieces. They sent the card to the lab to see if they could piece together identifying information.
It was unclear what had happened to this man, but Detective Bullard suspected it was a homicide so they started investigating the surrounding neighborhood and witnesses.
The first people to see the body was a group of five female college students who were driving together in a black Jeep SUV. They went to school at Curry College in Milton. They had been driving to the mall, and accidentally turned on this street where they encountered the body. They told the next car to come down the street that there was something in the street, and that person, a neighbor, called the police.
One of girls said they dialed 911 on their tablet, but didn’t hit send. Police wondered why the girls had stayed at the scene for so long, although it can be explained by the adrenaline rush from being a witness of such tragic circumstances. They got all their information, and then let them go.
Neighbor Carol Ryan had been to the store that night. At 8:53 p.m. she saw a black SUV that she didn’t recognize from the area. Police got the call about the body at 9:30 p.m.
Other residents in the neighborhood reported hearing a loud “bang” at about 8:45 p.m. A group of young men were working on a car two houses down from where the body was found. They thought the bang was them dropping something, and then they saw a white Audi drive by.
Another neighbor a few more houses down had video surveillance which showed the black SUV go back and fourth about four or five times, which is consistent with what the college students told police. However, then both the white Audi and the black Jeep SUV go back and fourth another four or five times. It appeared that the Jeep was following the white Audi. The college girls had not mentioned the white Audi at all.
Were the girls involved?
While police were working on interviewing everyone in both vehicles, they were inspecting the black Jeep Cherokee SUV, which had been seized. Tissue from a human body was found underneath the car, which led investigators to believe the girls might have been involved in the murder.
This did not prove that they were, however, because the Jeep had suffered no apparent damage, and could have picked up the body tissue by driving on the road where the death had taken place. Another theory was that the vehicle that struck the man was the white Audi.
The driver of the black Jeep saw information on the news, so she contacted the police the next day to give more information. She knew the driver of the white Audi, and said that that night the white Audi driver had wanted to smoke marijuana. She drove to a cul-de-sac in the Brierbrook neighborhood, where she knew police did not frequent. This time, however, her smoke spot had a dead body in the road.
Instead of calling police, the driver of the white Audi called her friends at Curry College, and asked them if they wanted to come see a dead body. A group of girls jumped in the Jeep and they went to the scene and circled the body multiple times.
Police tracked down the white Audi, and found what looked to be brain matter under the car. They seized the vehicle and asked for the driver and her attorney to come to the police station. She denied knowing the person, and not knowing anything about it.
She said she fled the scene because she didn’t want to get in trouble because of marijuana and she didn’t know if her car was properly insured. There was no evidence that her vehicle had struck the man, so the girls were not charged.
At this point, they still didn’t know who the victim was, or even a cause of death. No gunshot wound was found. They finally found a clue in the victim’s pants: a hall pass with a name written at the top. The name was illegible, but police determined that the victim was probably in high school. They sent the photo of the hall pass to local media to see if anyone could identify the name.
On November 19, police got a call from North Carolina letting them know that their nephew was missing. He was a 16-year-old named Delvonte Tisdale, which looked like the name scribbled on the hall pass. His father had reported him missing on the day the body was found in Massachusetts.
Delvonte was from Baltimore, Maryland, one of seven kids. Delvonte’s oldest brother Anthony Jr. says Delvonte was smart and liked to read about astronomy. His family says he was charming, outgoing, popular, and had a lot of girlfriends. Younger sister Sha’Twanna Tisdale she described him as “adventurous, courageous, playful.”
Delvonte’s life changed in the summer of 2008 when mom Jonette Washington was diagnosed with diabetes and a heart murmur. She was in and out of the hospital, and had no one to take care of the kids while she worked on her health. Delvonte and two of his siblings went to live their dad Anthony Tisdale Sr. in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Delvonte wanted to join the air force, so he joined the ROTC. His dad wasn’t happy about this because he couldn’t control him as much while he was away doing ROTC activities. The siblings say the dad was often physical with his punishments, and Delvonte got the worst of it.
Jonette didn’t talk to Delvonte for a year. When she spoke with him again, he said he wanted to come home to his mother. Delvonte’s father didn’t want him to go, but they agreed that he could go one. On Sunday, November 14, Delvonte and his brother Daiquan went to bed. The next morning Delvonte was missing.
Jonette was planning to have her kids home for Thanksgiving when she got the call that Delvonte was deceased. She had not been alerted by Anthony Sr. that Delvonte had been missing.
Daiquan, who shared a room with Delvonte, remembers Delvonte getting up and saying goodbye. He remembers Delvonte taking a duffel bag, red polo shirt, and Nike sneakers. That night his father had forbidden him from attending the next ROTC event.
How and Why had Delvonte ended up in Milton, MA?
The only way Delvonte could have ended up in Milton, MA from Charlotte, North Carolina was by airplane. This would also explain why his body suddenly appeared in the middle of the street out of nowhere. The state of his body also is consistent with falling from a high point, which could only happen from a plane in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
It was not a normal occurrence, however, so this theory almost seemed unbelievable. Flight 1176 from U.S. Air had been scheduled to land at Boston Logan airport at 8:12 p.m. It had been delayed, and had been above the Brierbrook neighboarhood at 8:52 p.m. They had lowered their landing gear right above Milton at about 3000 ft. This would explain the “bang” sound that neighbors heard around this time.
The state lab found more evidence to support this. The plastic card they had found next to Delvonte was from a DoubleTree hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. An employee saw him taking the hotel shuttle to the airport.
Is it possible to jump on a plane on the tarmac?
It seems inconceivable that someone could stow away on a plane after security measures put in plane from 9/11. Gate surveillance showed now evidence of Delvonte. Detective Bullard checked out the plane and found that while a person could stow away in the wheel well, a number of factors would have killed him after the flight took off. The wheels generate a lot of heat, they could burn a person. The space is small, so the wheels could crush a person. The inflight temperature in the wheel well could freeze a person, and the lack of air could suffocate him.
It’s likely that if Delvonte got into the wheel well, that he passed away soon after. When the plane opened up the wheel well for landing, the already deceased young man fell from the sky into the Brierwood neighborhood of Milton, MA.
There was a damaged part of the fence where a person could walk onto the tarmac. The flight was delayed for 45 minutes, giving Delvonte time to work himself up to get on.
Police found Delvonte’s NIike sneakers and a red polo shirt in the woods near the area. They never found the duffel bag Daiquan remembered Delvonte taking from the house. They found fingerprints in the wheelhouse, but couldn’t make a match. There was a greasy substance on Delvonte’s body that could have come from the plane.
Still, a lot of things about the death of Delvonte doesn’t make a lot of sense. The only possibly is that Delvonte had stowed away on a plane, but there is still no answer as to why he chose to do this.