Family Dispute Turns into Double-Murder Suicide NR24117kt/cm

April 9, 2024

Woodland Hills: On April 8, 2024, around 7:35 a.m., the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Topanga Division patrol officers responded to the 6200 block of Variel Avenue for a radio call of a homicide investigation. Operations Valley Bureau (OVB) homicide detectives were notified and responded to the scene. During their investigation, homicide detectives learned of two related incidents that occurred following the homicide on Variel Avenue.

The first incident involved two young children being found on the 405 Freeway near Howard Hughes Parkway. The second incident involved a single vehicle fatal traffic collision in the city of Redondo Beach.

LAPD Homicide detectives worked in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Redondo Beach Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office to determine if the above incidents were related. Their investigation revealed the following:

The victim, 29-year-old Jaelen Chaney, and the suspect, 34-year-old Danielle Johnson, resided together with her two young children, aged eight months old and nine years old, in a residence in the 6200 block of Variel Avenue. On April 8, 2024, around 3:40 a.m., Chaney and Johnson became involved in a verbal altercation that escalated into Johnson becoming violent, stabbing Chaney, who succumbed to his injuries at scene. A knife with biological evidence was later recovered from the scene. Johnson then fled with her two children in a dark-colored Porsche SUV.

Around 4:30 a.m., the dark-colored SUV was observed driving on the 405 Freeway when the two children were expelled from the vehicle while it was moving. The nine-year-old child sustained moderate injuries from the fall and was transported to a local hospital. The eight-month-old child sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at scene.

Around 5:00 a.m., Johnson drove her vehicle at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour in the city of Redondo Beach near the intersection of Vincent Street and the Pacific Coast Highway and collided with a tree. Johnson did not survive the crash and was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

These events all transpired before LAPD personnel were notified of the crime. Around 7:35 a.m., neighbors on Variel Avenue observed the front door open, which prompted them to check on the well-being of the residents. It was at that time Chaney was discovered deceased in the apartment. After a thorough investigation and collaboration with the above agencies, homicide detectives determined that the incidents were all related and there was no further threat to the community.

Anyone with additional information that may further aid in this investigation is asked to contact Operations Valley Bureau Homicide Detectives at (818) 374-9550. During non-business hours, or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.