Murdered 5-Year-Old Was Last Seen Playing Computer Games With Her Suspected Killer

Heartbreaking 27

John FreemanAs the nation shifts its eyes toward the family of 5-year-old Isabella Tennant, the Niagara Falls girl murdered and stuffed in a garbage can near her great-grandmother's home, one word comes to mind. Compassion. I'd like to think that the judgment hurled at the families of murdered children in the wake of grisly discoveries comes from a desperate desire to understand what went wrong so we can keep our own children safer. But picking apart the Tennant family's last moves will only make this tragedy seem that much more senseless.

They are grieving. And the cops already have not one but two suspects in custody. Among them is John Freeman, the 16-year-old neighbor and long-time family friend who cops say was last seen with Isabella late Sunday night.

According to reports, the two were playing on Isabella's great-grandmother's computer around 10:30 p.m. when the older woman went to bed. But Monday morning, the great-grandmother called police, frantic. Isabella was missing.

And then, later that day, the horror. Another teenager named Tyler Best, who lived with Isabella's great-grandmother, allegedly came forward to police. They say he told them that John Freeman killed the little girl, and he helped dispose of the body in a garbage can nearby. Indeed, that's where she was found.

The two boys are both under arrest -- Freeman charged with murder, Best with tampering with evidence.

But it still leaves the question: how could an innocent night turn so wrong?

This 5-year-old was up late, it's true. But it's still summer vacation in New York State. My daughter has had more than her fair share of late nights here in our home, followed by a lie in the following morning. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

In fact, it all sounds strikingly familiar: a little girl, in a family home, hanging out on a summer evening playing games. She was in her great-grandmother's home, where she should have been safe.

And what of the boy? He was a "trusted" family friend, a boy who had been around the child dozens of times. She was left in the care of a responsible teenager, where she should have been safe.

So what are we left with? A horrific tragedy that could have happened to any one of us. There is no feeling better here, no better protecting our kids. There is only hugging our children tighter and sending our most sympathetic words to a family in Niagara Falls. They didn't do anything to deserve this.

What do you wish you could say to Isabella Tennant's family today?


Image via Niagara County Sheriff's Office

crime, death


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fleur... fleurdelys3110

Not be judgy is a case as serious as this, but if the boy in the picture is the suspected killer, then he looks like an absolute pyscho with a dark side.

Tommy... TommyAbby

And he had the balls to plead NOT GUILTY!! 


tammy... tammyc1106

That is just sick and disgusting. How could anyone hurt an innocent child. How can he go from playing with her on the computer to killing her? The other party obviously had some sort of a conscience to go to police; but it does not excuse him helping hide her body. My heart goes out to the grieving family. I have a 5 year old daughter and I can't imaging losing her; especially in a way like this. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, so they can somehow by the grace of God find the strength to go on and lay their baby to rest.

Eden Bennett

This is in my neck of the woods. From what I gathered, nobody even knows why he did it. It's been all over the news here. 

Elisabeth Cardenas

when i was little i was at home, we had a few family friends over three of which one was my babysitters son n the two his friends, anyways they had left or so we thought, n we allwent to bed, that night one of the friends stayed in the house, none of us had known, i was 9 n he came up to my room n i was young n didnt know how much danger i was in, thankfully i called my mom before anything like this could happen. Turned out he was a sex offender n in the system. Cas in point, don't leve anybody that is not a family member in your home no matter what....n check all the rooms and locks before you go to bed. you never know and it's better to be safe then sorry. I understand this night seemed innoent, and i pray for the family and you're right, this could've happened to anybody. Please be safe everyone and again my condolences to this family. I am very sorry for your loss, it's so tragic :(

mrssu... mrssundin

OK before jumping on that burn him at the stake BS I need a little more proof then some kid said. Where is physical proof, can we be sure that the alleged tattle tell isn't the only killer and wants to shift blame some where else.

Elisabeth Cardenas

and att the above comments, not guilty....i hope he gets life in prison, and how could we know why??? only disgusting sick filth know why, the rest of us will never understand.


livn4... livn4hevn

THIS is why I don't just send my kids to someone's house without knowing the parents... even in a TRUSTED situation things can happen.

Sounds like the kid didn't mean to kill the little girl, freaked out, called his friend, and his friend tried to be there for him. I always say innocent until proven guilty... and even then, the verdict isn't always the truth.

Ashley Nicole Harris

I'm just trying to figure out why a 5yr old girl would be hanging out with a teenage boy. What would they have in common? That is so strange to me. 

But nonetheless a very sad story. :-(

Jacqueline Thoennes

You mentioned a "family friend".  How many girls are molested or killed by a "family friend"?  Was she molested?  How do you go from playing games on the computer to killing a child?  Sickos.

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