Her So-Called Life

Raised in a family devastated by drugs and neglect, Porsche Williams became a mother at age twelve, and a murder victim at fifteen

One Sunday night in October, Porsche Williams met with old friends from the Opa-locka neighborhood where she grew up. About twenty teens were partying together that evening at Platinum nightclub, toasting a friend's graduation. But it was also Porsche's first outing since she split with her boyfriend, Jonas Baptiste, and the fifteen-year-old mother wanted to celebrate her new freedom as well.

Earlier in the day, on her way to get her hair braided for the night of clubbing, Porsche had dropped her three-year-old son, Erin, at the home of her great-grandmother, Tessie Massey. "Mama, I'm scared," Porsche confessed before leaving the 91-year-old matriarch who helped raise her. "I want to come down and stay with you." Massey embraced her troubled great-granddaughter, and assured her she could come and stay whenever she liked.

Porsche had reason to be afraid. Baptiste, age 21, had been stalking her for three days. The previous Thursday and Friday, as Porsche's father, Michael Clark, worked in his yard in Liberty City, Baptiste rode by on his bicycle, scouting for his ex-girlfriend. "I waved at him, he waved back, but we didn't say nothing," Clark recalls. When Baptiste failed to find Porsche, he began phoning Tessie Massey's Opa-locka home. "Quit calling," Massey scolded Baptiste after too many rings. "I done told you she ain't here." Undaunted, Baptiste broadened his search to Opa-locka. Massey's neighbors say they saw him roaming near her home, carrying a gun. On Saturday Baptiste finally spoke to Porsche on the phone. Precious, Porsche's nine-year-old sister, overheard a conversation in which Porsche informed Baptiste she was going out to Platinum on Sunday night. "He told her that if she went he was gonna kill her," says Precious, smiling sadly and staring off into space.

Tessie Massey has helped raise three generations from her Opa-locka efficiency
Steve Satterwhite
Tessie Massey has helped raise three generations from her Opa-locka efficiency
Porsche's late mother Merrial Williams (left) with her younger siblings, Howard Massie, Jr., Sue Williams, and Tessie Jones
photo courtesy Tessie Massey
Porsche's late mother Merrial Williams (left) with her younger siblings, Howard Massie, Jr., Sue Williams, and Tessie Jones
Wearing his sister on his shirt, John Lee tries not to forget her face
Steve Satterwhite
Wearing his sister on his shirt, John Lee tries not to forget her face
Merrial Williams's life was cut short by drug addiction and AIDS
photo courtesy Tessie Massey
Merrial Williams's life was cut short by drug addiction and AIDS
Charles Auslander is the latest district director trying to restructure an ailing Department of Children and Families
Steve Satterwhite
Charles Auslander is the latest district director trying to restructure an ailing Department of Children and Families

Porsche defied Baptiste and on Sunday night she met her best friend, 21-year-old Trice Jackson, at the club. Jackson grew up with Porsche in Opa-locka, and lived across from Porsche's great-grandmother. "She was like my little sister," says Jackson, leaning against a mailbox, facing the street where she and Porsche played as kids. A pick comb sticks out of Jackson's frizzled hair. "Now I feel empty without her." Jackson contends Sunday night was going smoothly, even when Baptiste appeared on the scene. "They were talking inside and everything was fine." Jackson says. "She [Porsche] was laughing." Porsche posed for two photos. In one she stands alone, wearing black capri pants, tie-up platform shoes, and a cream-color floral shirt. One hand is on her waist, the other on her knee. A constrained smile and droopy eyes clash with her baby face. In a group photo, Porsche stands at the end, her arms draped lightly around the shoulders of an overweight, bald young man who is not Jonas Baptiste.

At about 3:15 a.m., Porsche, Trice Jackson, and a few others called it a night. Porsche, who had been dancing with a man, said her goodbyes and started to exit the club with her friends. When Jackson opened the door, she came face to face with Baptiste. "He was saying, 'Where she at, where she at?'" Jackson remembers. "When I saw the gun, I started screaming, 'Oh my God. No, no, no, don't you hurt her.'" Baptiste grabbed Porsche, hauled her by the neck out of the crowd, and dragged her to the parking lot, claiming he needed to talk to her. He pushed her against the building's wall and fired a Beretta semiautomatic handgun in the air. Porsche whimpered, "Don't hurt me," before Baptiste fired once into her right temple. Then he shot himself in the back of the head. It was 3:20 a.m. Jackson's older brother, Sid, held Porsche's hand as she lay between a wall and a row of cars at 1610 NW 119 St. A stream of blood from underneath her head trickled alongside her left arm, staining her blouse. Her last words, Sid Jackson remembers, were, "I ain't gonna die; I'm too strong."


Porsche had been forced to be strong. While many of her peers were fretting over homework or what outfit to wear to school, Porsche Coretha Williams was dealing with motherhood, AIDS, drug addiction, and death. Help appeared periodically in the form of a father, great-grandmother, and a teacher or two, but in the end too few did too little too late to save Porsche's life. She was born to a family traumatized by poverty and loss, and fell through its honeycombed structure early on. The outside safety net that should have acted as a backup also broke down; the overburdened network of social services proved to be almost as weak as her family.

Not that there weren't red flags: Porsche became pregnant while in middle school, and barely through her first year of high school she had a live-in boyfriend with a criminal record; when her mother died of AIDS this past March, no one assumed custody of the minor; she was chronically truant; and she lived in a duplex that was repeatedly reported to be a crackhouse. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) intervened at least three times, but protective investigators continually assessed the family as "low risk" and eventually shelved their recorded history somewhere in DCF's library of the disenfranchised. The Miami-Dade Housing Agency (MDHA) was notified that Porsche was fending for herself in subsidized housing, and Northwestern Senior High School reported Porsche's high absenteeism to Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services, Inc., yet nothing was done. Ultimately everyone responsible for Porsche's welfare, and that of her sister, Precious, her seven-year-old brother John Lee, and her toddler son Erin, failed them.


A loosely framed photo of Tessie Massey and her four grandchildren sits on an armoire in her cluttered efficiency in Opa-locka. Massey is only slightly turned toward the camera. Her figure is straight and square, her shoulders are firm, and she appears to be in her midsixties. The children at her knees, one of whom is Porsche's mother, are dressed mostly in white, their Sunday best. All three girls sport triangle-shape baby-doll dresses and tight pigtails. The one boy wears shorts, a tucked-in shirt, knee-high socks, and buckle-strap shoes. The siblings all stare off in different directions.

Massey came to Miami on a mission. The wife of her son, Howard Massie (who uses this variant spelling), died in 1967 at the age of 22, just three days after giving birth to their fourth child, Howard Lee, Jr. So 58-year-old Massey left her home in Clayton, Alabama, to raise the motherless clan. "I came down here three years after Kennedy was assassinated and four years after my own husband died," she recounts while sitting in an old wooden rocker, in front of a television set. Massey's front door is always open, but she keeps the doorway's iron grate locked. "When they came under my care, Sue was six months old, Tessie was four years old, Merrial was six, and Howard Jr. was but a week old," she says. "I was the only mother they ever knew. Some of them died so young. Porsche didn't even make it past her teens."

Massey also helped rear her grandchildren's kids, fifteen in total. "They all call me Mama," she says with a mixture of pride and sadness, while four-year-old Isaiah, a great-grandson who she baby-sits, lays on the floor next to her, drawing circles and straight lines. Pokémon cards are spread out between a ceramic Buddha and a statue of a dalmatian on a doily-covered coffee table. A framed portrait of a sacred heart and a poster of a guardian angel hovering above two white children as they cross a perilous bridge adorn her walls.

While her son Howard worked to support the family, Massey raised her grand- and great-grandchildren on large doses of gospel music, Bible studies, and church on Sundays. But her strict, Southern style of discipline clashed with children generations beyond her comprehension.

Merrial Williams, who took her mother's maiden name, was Porsche's mom, and the oldest of the siblings. She dropped out of school early and conceived three kids, all from different fathers. She never held a stable job, and drugs dominated her life. At the age of 38 she died of AIDS complications, as did her brother Howard Jr. before her. Sue Williams, the youngest of the women, also had five children from different fathers. She is unemployed, currently homeless, and on and off cocaine. She also lives with the constant fear that DCF will take away her children. Tessie Jones, the middle grandchild, seems to have avoided some of the pitfalls in her siblings' lives: She's married, lives in the suburbs, and has a college education. But Tessie Massey thinks there's a dark side to this granddaughter as well. "Tessie's slick," Massey says disapprovingly. "I don't know why they named her after me. Merrial was more like me; she was kind. Tessie always in a hurry. She got a little college and she thinks she knows more than me. I don't pay her no attention; I call her little ol' educated fool."


Merrial Williams met Michael Clark in 1981 while they worked together in a nursing home. Clark was a cook, and Merrial worked in the kitchen. They dated for three years. Two months after they ended their relationship, Clark ran into Merrial at a Martin Luther King Day parade while she was working at a concession stand. "She gave me her telephone number and told me she needed to talk to me. I thought, Oh my goodness," he says covering his face with one hand as if reliving the moment. "I never did call her, but she called my mom and told her she was pregnant."

Clark questioned his fatherhood, and he had reason to. After 22-year-old Merrial gave birth to Porsche on January 31, 1984, at least two other possible fathers eventually came forward. "It was so shameful," Tessie Massey remarks. "At Christmastime Porsche be gettin' Christmas presents from all three of 'em."

Tessie Jones claims Merrial never revealed who Porsche's real father was. Based on the lack of evidence of paternal ties, Jones has challenged Clark's temporary custody of Porsche's son Erin. While Jones, Porsche's maternal aunt, contends Clark's fatherly love amounted to "ten dollars here and there," Tessie Massey defends her unofficial grandson-in-law. "He can't be no stranger, 'cause he went to see about Porsche on and off," Massey comments. "He would buy Porsche school clothes, and when the water or electricity was cut off he would help them get it back. He did more than my son [Porsche's grandfather, Howard Massie] ever did for those children."

Clark never paid child support and never got tested for paternity. Yet he says he assumed some responsibility for Porsche, initially owing to his mother's insistence, and later with his wife's support. "My mom kept telling me the child is innocent, so I said to myself, Okay, I have a job, I can do things for her," he says. "I've taken care of Porsche long enough that even if she wasn't my daughter, I accepted her as such, but I can't really prove that I'm her biological father."

Merrial spent the first five years of Porsche's life searching for a home. "Every time she would lose an apartment 'cause she couldn't pay the bills, she would go to Ms. Tessie's," Clark says. "She was the only one who would accept her." Around this time Merrial also began using drugs. She sought treatment for her addiction and checked herself into Hialeah Hospital. There Merrial tested HIV-positive. DCF records suggest drug abuse may have continued well into her second pregnancy. Clark attests Merrial wasn't on coke while they dated but says her subsequent addiction persisted until her death. "I was shocked when I found out Merrial was doing drugs. Ms. Tessie raised her real good."

Merrial lived briefly with Clark's mother before moving into Tessie Massey's efficiency again in 1990. In May of that year she had her second child, Precious, who also had two men claiming to be her father. Porsche was attending Rainbow Park Elementary at the time.

Patricia Shaw, Porsche's fourth- and fifth-grade academic excellence program instructor, describes Porsche as a mature fourth-grader. "Porsche was very responsible," Shaw says. "I could count on her to carry out any task." The elementary teacher, who would sometimes give Porsche a ride home after school, stayed in touch with her former student throughout the years. "She was my sweetheart. She was a very special child, scholarship potential." Shaw last saw Porsche in May. "I asked her, 'How's the boyfriend?' She said, 'Ms. Shaw, there's no boyfriend,'" says Shaw, imitating Porsche's wispy voice. "When I heard what happened to her on the news, I just sat in front of the television and cried. I wasn't surprised when Porsche became pregnant, but this wasn't anything I would ever expect."


While living with her great-grandmother Massey, Porsche began staying out late, and when she turned eleven years old, she became pregnant. Clark, who says he accompanied Porsche to her first gynecological visit, contacted DCF in 1995, about three months into her pregnancy. He reported Merrial's alleged drug problem and complained that Porsche had too much freedom. A DCF activity log shows that Clark accused Merrial of giving their daughter permission to stay out until 3:00 a.m. Merrial denied everything. She informed DCF protective investigator Tangela Amos that Porsche was only allowed to go out to the movies with neighborhood friends and had a 10:00 p.m. curfew. The mother of three admitted to a substance-abuse problem in the past, but assured Amos she was clean. "I only drink beer now," Merrial told Amos. Massey also denied that her granddaughter used drugs in their Opa-locka home. "She didn't bring it around here," she remembers, but says Clark's accusations were not unfounded. "I told Merrial she was making a big mistake by letting Porsche go around with them grown girls," Massey says. She also contends Porsche would visit a boyfriend, known as Fatboy, presumably the father of Porsche's child. But members of Porsche's immediate family say they wouldn't know Arrington Veagris, a.k.a. Fatboy, if he were standing in front of them.

Charles Auslander, DCF's district director, recognizes the state agency's investigation into Porsche's life was inadequate. "It is not effective investigation to me to have the alleged abuser simply assert to the investigator, 'I'm not using drugs,' and as a consequence, for the investigator to conclude that there was proper risk assessment done," Auslander says. "That would not be satisfactory."

In the 1995 report, Clark told Amos he wanted custody of Porsche. But Amos concluded there was no evidence to support Clark's allegations of neglect, so she referred him to family court. Clark says he became discouraged by Merrial's unsupportive family and the prospect of a long legal battle. "I went through a lot to get Porsche to come live with me, so I blame a lot of people for her death," Clark says gravely. "I feel like if I had her she would still be here."

Amos counseled Porsche and her mother on how to deal with pregnancy; Merrial informed the caseworker she was arranging for Porsche to get an abortion. In the end Amos concluded the family was low risk, closed the case with DCF, and referred it to Family Builders, a Miami Dade Department of Human Services program that contracts with DCF.

This short-term service designed for families who supposedly need only limited help reopened the case in early 1996. Family Builders, whose primary goal is to keep children home with families, had the Williams case for three months. Upon closure they made some recommendations to the family. A caseworker advised Merrial to obtain her GED, continue counseling (they gave her a telephone number where she could call to make an appointment), and assist Porsche in meeting her gynecological appointments. Family Builders also helped Merrial apply for public housing. Three months later they conducted a followup, and according to Paula Bain, director for the division of family preservation and family support services at the Department of Human Services, "the family was doing as fine as could be expected in their situation." But Merrial never sought counseling, and Bain doesn't know whether she earned her GED.


Merrial Williams and her three kids left Tessie Massey's efficiency, and in March 1996 moved into Arthur Mays Villas, public housing owned by Miami-Dade Housing Agency (MDHA), subsidized by HUD, and managed by a private company. On June 17, 1996, while Merrial was in Alabama with a boyfriend and her two other kids, Porsche gave birth to Erin. Clark and his wife, Belinda, were by Porsche's side when she delivered her child. In 1997, owing to her deteriorating health, Merrial placed her two youngest kids, Precious and John Lee, back in the care of their great-grandmother Massey. "I told Merrial I'd take them until she got better," Massey says. "But she didn't never get any better."

After Merrial's October 1997 request for more accessible living quarters, MDHA moved the family into a ground-floor apartment in Wynwood in March 1998. Just a block away, at 325 NW 35 St., Jonas Baptiste lived in an identical-model MDHA duplex with Marcia Anderson and her family. In the summer of 1998, Porsche and Baptiste crossed paths. Around the same time, Merrial was arrested for purchasing cocaine.

Much of Jonas Baptiste's life is reflected through his criminal records, and those who knew him offer conflicting stories. He was born in Miami on August 22, 1978, to Rene Jean Baptiste, a native of Haiti, and Mary Patricia Gamble. Mary Baptiste says her younger brother was in and out of foster homes from the age of three, sometimes lived with his father, and by the age of sixteen was out on the streets, hustling, and answering to the nickname Gigolo. Marcia Anderson, a mother of six, claims she took the twelve-year-old Baptiste under her wing after his mother died. But Baptiste's twenty-three-year-old sister Mary says he moved in with Anderson when he was about nineteen, when he became friends with two of Anderson's sons. Furthermore, claims the sister, their mother is not dead. "She just didn't want to deal with us," Mary Baptiste asserts.

Baptiste's only known occupation was dealing crack and cocaine in Wynwood and on the fringes of Liberty City. His first arrest came in 1995, at the age of seventeen, for selling marijuana. The following year police arrested Baptiste for possession of cocaine with intent to sell. Also in 1996 he was arrested for burglary and grand theft auto. In September 1997, Baptiste was caught selling two Ziploc bags of crack, and five of powdered cocaine. He was arrested a total of ten times.

Yet those who knew him generally speak of a quiet, intense young man who kept his emotions buried within. "He was a goodhearted person" says Catrevia Harris, Marcia Anderson's 27-year-old daughter. Tessie Massey, who met Baptiste on three occasions, says he seemed cordial "It was all, 'Thank you, ma'ams and yes, ma'ams' with me," she says. Sue Williams, Merrial's sister who moved in with Porsche after her mom died, thought Baptiste was a nice person. So did their neighbor Diane Robles.

But others believed Baptiste was nothing but trouble. "Everything bad, Jonas was involved with," Clark says. Trice Jackson claims she sensed something amiss but never talked to her friend about it. "When I started working the night shift, we kind of lost contact, but there was definitely something about him I didn't like."

Most accounts, however, hint at parallels between the lovers' lives. Porsche and Baptiste both had part-time fathers, absent mothers, and led lives in which drugs played too large a part. Friends and family of both say Baptiste was devoted to Porsche. "She was his first true girlfriend, and he really went out on a limb for the girl," Catrevia Harris says. Mary Baptiste says her brother constantly talked about Porsche. "He would always tell me how much he adored her." Neighbor Robles says Baptiste's love may have bordered on obsession. "He never had a family," Robles says. "For the first time in his life, he felt secure."

In December 1998, when Porsche started her freshman year of high school at Northwestern, Baptiste began to spend some nights at his girlfriend's home with Merrial's consent. A month later, on his way to visit Merrial at the hospital, Clark dropped by the house to check on Porsche and see if she needed anything. There he met Baptiste for the first time. "Porsche saw how I was looking at him," Clark says "So I guess she said, 'I better introduce him so he knows who this guy is.' And she did, but she introduced him to me as her friend. I left. I didn't say nothing that night, but in my mind I was like, Now I'm coming back: I need to talk to her."

Clark says he stopped by the following day on his way home from work. Baptiste was there and wore the same clothes he had on the previous day. "I didn't know he was living there," Clark says. "I just was noticing things." Clark stepped outside with Porsche and asked her for an explanation. Porsche confessed Baptiste was really her boyfriend. "I told her, 'Why you need a boyfriend? You got him,'" he says pointing at Erin, who is sitting at the dining room table contentedly eating a hamburger and French fries for lunch. "It'll happen again," Clark told Porsche. "No, no, no, I'll protect myself," Porsche had responded. "She tried to hide a lot of things," Clark comments. Clark gave her some packages of stuff she needed and left. He talked to his wife about it that night, and she advised him to confront Merrial.

When Merrial returned from the hospital, Clark paid her a visit. "I asked her what was going on. She was honest," Clark says. "With tears in her eyes she told me, 'Mike, he likes Porsche, he sells drugs, and I get them from him.'" According to Clark, Merrial confided to him that Baptiste was living there off and on, would buy groceries, and pay utility bills. Clark called Baptiste into Merrial's room and asked him to leave. "I told him, 'I don't live here, but Porsche's my daughter, and right now I'm asking you to leave. Whatever you have here, get it and leave. I'm not leaving until you leave.' He said, 'Okay,' walked around, grabbed his little bag, tossed in his clothing, got on his bike, and left." But not for good.

On another unannounced visit, Clark asked Porsche if she knew Baptiste supplied her mother with drugs. Shocked, Porsche told Clark she was unaware of this and to his surprise called Baptiste into the room and pressed him for an answer. "She asked him, 'Are you giving my mom drugs?'" Clark says. "Jonas just kept saying, 'Porsche, you know your mom, you know your mom.' Then he finally came out and said, 'Yes, sometimes.'" For a second time Clark kicked Baptiste out of the house and asked to speak to Merrial. When he walked into her room he found cocaine and money spread out on her bed. "I said, 'Merrial, you're gonna make me do something I'm gonna regret. She said to me, 'Mike no.' I said, 'Either you get help or I'm gonna have to get help for you.' She begged me not to and promised she would stop getting high." Merrial called Baptiste into the room, and he walked in obediently. In Clark's presence she asked Baptiste for the house key, and silently he handed it over and exited the home. Baptiste was back the next day.

For a few months, Clark says he made it his business to check on Porsche every day, but he grew tired after constantly seeing Baptiste's bike parked outside the house. Clark stopped keeping vigil when he started working a night job. He never reported Merrial's drug abuse and her dealings with Baptiste to DCF. "I was afraid they would take Merrial's kids away from her," he says regretfully. "I had threatened to do it a couple times, but I couldn't go through with it. Merrial would always plead with me not to let her kids be separated."


Merrial Williams died on March 17, 1999, of pneumonia. With Merrial dead, Clark again sought custody of Porsche and asked grandfather Howard Massie, Merrial's distant father, for his blessing. "He said 'Okay, Mike, as soon as everything settles down I'll get with you and we'll make arrangements. I'm giving you my word; my word is my bond.' " Instead Clark contends, Howard Massie, who had two of his daughter Sue's teenagers living with him, sent his daughter and her boys to live with Porsche in the HUD-subsidized home. Clark then tried to convince Porsche to move in with his family. "I spoke with her about coming to live here, but I let her know that a lot of things that were going on in her house wouldn't be accepted here," Clark says. "She didn't say anything, but I could see it in her eyes that she didn't like it. There are rules here. That's what kept Porsche away. She had been there for her mom for so long she felt grown. With her having a kid, and having to have to do things that an adult had to, she felt like she was grown."

According to neighbor Diane Robles, Baptiste was now living with Porsche full-time. In early May, Lisa Thompson, a community-resource specialist with MDHA, began interviewing family members to find a suitable home for Porsche. Thompson knew Sue Williams also was living with Porsche, but after a conference with the girl and her aunt, she concluded that Sue, who hadn't raised her own children, was in no position to become head of the household. Thompson tried unsuccessfully to place Porsche in the care of her great-grandmother Massey, who since 1997 had already assumed responsibility of the fifteen-year-old's two siblings. Massey told Thompson there was no way she could become Porsche and Erin's full-time guardian, nor was she willing to relocate into the HUD home with them. Thompson then submitted a referral to the New Horizons Overtown Family Enrichment Center, requesting that they provide services and make recommendations pertaining to Porsche's case. But the organization never followed through.

On May 16 Diane Robles filed the first of seven written complaints to MDHA. Robles reported heavy night traffic in and out of Porsche's home, and stated Baptiste had turned the home into a crackhouse. "Customers would call his name every day," recounts Robles, a single mother of five who works as a security guard. "It would be two or three in the morning. I used to leave my windows open but then I had to buy an AC unit so I could close them because of all the noise. I couldn't sleep." Addicts frequently knocked on Robles's door and back window, mistaking it for Porsche's.

About a week after Robles reported the disturbances, and two weeks after having contacted New Horizons, Thompson turned to the Department of Children and Families. On May 21 Thompson reported to DCF that Porsche's home was being used as a round-the-clock illegal drug shop. She also informed DCF that Porsche's siblings, who would spend the weekend with their sister, were sometimes out at night, unattended. DCF had already reopened the case on May 12. Travis Davis, the protective investigator assigned to it, assured Thompson he had conducted an assessment of the situation and would send her a report. A week went by and DCF made no report or recommendations to MDHA. Thompson contacted Davis two more times; each time he assured her a report was forthcoming. When DCF failed to respond, the MDHA sent Porsche's mother a 30-day notice of noncompliance. Incredibly, even though Merrial had died two months before, she was cited for interfering with her neighbor's peaceful enjoyment of the property, and for harboring unauthorized boarders in the unit. Sherra McLeod, communications director for MDHA, explains Merrial was cited because she was on the lease and because Porsche was a minor. In July, while Porsche and Michael Clark were undergoing counseling for the teenager's chronic absenteeism from school, MDHA filed a court eviction.

But the drug dealing continued, just as Porsche was about to start another school year at a new school, Miami Edison Senior High. One August evening at midnight, Robles walked to the corner store. When she returned, the duplex was surrounded by cops. "Police even asked me to watch the kids while they searched the place for drugs," she says. The kids included Porsche who, according to Robles, sucked her thumb, as she did when she was nervous.

Porsche continued living in the home with Baptiste, her son, her Aunt Sue, her cousin Bump, and a host of junkies who would sometimes crash at her place. She seldom made it to school. From August 31 to the time of her death, Porsche attended school a total of seven days, according to Edison principal Santiago C. Corrada. Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services, an agency that deals with ungovernable teens and runaway kids, worked with Porsche and her father to get her enrolled in an alternative girls' school known as Practical Academic Cultural Education Center. Porsche was in the interview stage when she was killed.

DCF's Travis Davis was still evaluating the case in late October, three weeks after Porsche died. Throughout all of Davis's reports there is no mention of Baptiste or drugs changing hands in the household. Miami Bridge and Miami Dade Housing were also left out of the picture. So was Michael Clark. Most troubling of all, no one had custody of fifteen-year-old Porsche at the time of her death. "We didn't do a good job," says Charles Auslander, DCF's district director. "There appears to have been some help being provided to Porsche before and after her mother passed away, but that was the extent of it. No one assumed legal custody, and although there appeared to be some level of a support network, it was far too risky a situation and we did not act appropriately to make her a dependent of the state."

Davis resigned from DCF. His superior still works for DCF.


Porsche tried to break free from Baptiste many times. "Two days before he killed her she told me she wanted to go away for a while, until all the people that were living there left," Robles says. "She was the sweetest girl. That's why her home was full of people living there, because she felt sorry for them and they took advantage of that. And if it wouldn't have been for all the noise he caused, Jonas was a nice person; he would always say hello. He would do anything for Porsche. If she asked him to go get Burger King for her at midnight, he would walk to Burger King and buy her what she wanted. At whatever time she wanted."

Porsche and Jonas were buried a week apart. Before Porsche's funeral, Tessie Jones and Michael Clark fought over who should make the arrangements, and Porsche's body went from one funeral home to another. But in the end her extended family, friends, and teachers all came together to mourn her. Not as many said goodbye to Baptiste. His "adoptive" mother, Marcia Anderson, his adoptive brothers and sisters, one biological sister, a couple of friends, and his Haitian father watched as the 21-year-old's casket dropped into the earth. The elder Baptiste, who paid for the funeral, thanked Anderson for being a parent to his estranged son.

A judge has yet to sign an eviction order originally intended to remove Porsche from the Wynwood home. At press time her cousin Bump still lives there. The Department of Children and Families has reopened the Massey-Williams file for the third time. It will try to disentangle nets partially of its own making. Central to the case now are Precious, John Lee, and Erin. Porsche's brother and sister are living with Tessie Massey; the boy sleeps on a couch, and Precious shares a bed with her great-grandmother. John Lee's father has expressed interest in adopting both. Erin lives temporarily with Michael and Belinda Clark.

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