HOUSTON — Houston police say the person of interest they questioned this morning about the deaths of a father and his 2-year-old son has now been charged in the case.
Bolanle Fadairo, 38, is charged with two counts of murder and tampering with evidence in connection with the deaths of 38-year-old Michael Essien and his son Micah. He was taken into custody Wednesday morning at an apartment near the original crime scene.
Meanwhile, the victims' heartbroken family members are looking for answers.
"Tell Houston, tell the whole world that I want my nephew back. He's only 2 years old. He does not know how to hurt a fly," Jessie Okon, the toddler's aunt, told us Wednesday. "My brother has always been a peaceful man. I need my brother back."
Micah's cousin said he was a happy-go-lucky little boy.
“Micah is always cheerful, wants to be around someone – at church, always happy," Etimbuk Isaiah said.
Essien and his wife recently welcomed another baby and they also have an older son.
“She’s hanging on is all I can say. It’s a difficult thing to process right now and so tragic because nobody wakes up planning to die," Etimbuk Isaiah, a cousin, said. "And just taking it one day at a time, that’s all I can say."
Family members say Essien attended Hastings High School, attended college as an athlete, and worked at a security company. He was wearing his security guard uniform when he was killed.
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The chain of events unfolded Tuesday afternoon when police responded to a shooting on El Camino Del Rey Street near Chimney Rock Road in the Gulfton area.
Houston police said Essien met up with the suspect for unknown reasons and they got into an argument that ended in gunfire. Essien was dead when officers arrived and his SUV was gone.
Sources told KHOU 11 the two knew each other and were both security guards.
“I literally saw him yesterday," said Aaliyah Leday, who lives at the apartments where the suspect was arrested. “He was just running to me about how somebody owed him some money and he was going to do something. I didn’t know what he was going to do."
Sources also us the suspect claimed Essien owed him money.
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Police had no idea the victim's son was in the SUV until hours later when Essien's wife called to report her husband and child were missing. Based on the information she gave them, they realized her husband was the man who had been shot.
Officers located the abandoned SUV about half an hour later on Elm Street near Renwick Drive. The little boy was found unresponsive in the backseat.
Police said officers broke the glass to get to the child and tried to revive him, but it was too late. The cause of death will be determined by an autopsy, but officials said it could be heat exhaustion.
Neighbors said they likely passed the SUV parked on the street but had no idea a child was inside. There are still questions about whether the suspect knew the child was in the car.
"I feel so bad, we could have done something, I know we could have," one neighbor said.
HPD later released surveillance video of a man believed to be the shooter at a store near the shooting scene. The slim Black male was wearing a white shirt with black shorts and a distinctive black Raiders cap. He appeared to have long facial hair around the chin area.
Police tracked him down early Wednesday at an apartment complex near where Michael Essien was shot to death.
Houston police are asking anyone with information on the suspect or these two incidents to call their homicide division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.