Person of interest interviewed in case of Middletown mother found shot to death

Person of interest being interviewed in case of Middletown mother found shot to death in Dayton
Brittany Russell (Provided by Middletown police Facebook page)
Brittany Russell (Provided by Middletown police Facebook page)
Haven and father Chris Evans. (FOX19 NOW)
Haven and father Chris Evans. (FOX19 NOW)

MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) – - Police in Dayton interviewed a man for two hours in connection with the Brittany Russell murder.  The Middletown mom found shot to death in Dayton with her six month old in the back seat of the car.  Her child, Haven, was unharmed but left in the vehicle for an undisclosed amount of time.

The man held for questioning and was arrested for an unrelated charged is Curtis Burdette Jr. He is in jail on a drug charge. Police would not go into detail why he was questioned about the Russell murder but said they had gotten a warrant to search his residence and have "probable cause."

Brittany Russell's death officially was ruled a homicide after the Montgomery County coroner said Russell was shot in the head more than once.

Police tell FOX19 NOW they will hand over their findings to the prosecutors office and they will determine if charges are filled against Burdette Jr. Due to the holiday, prosecutors will return on Tuesday.

"It kills me with what happened but, like I say, I'm glad my kid's safe. I'm in deep grief about what happened to the mother," said Chris Edwards, Haven's father.

Dayton Police Department Lt. Andrew Booher credits the running car with saving the baby's life.

"The saving grace is that whoever did it, they left the car running and because of that, the baby did survive," Booher said, at a Thursday press conference.

Dayton and Middletown police are now backtracking the last 24 to 48 hours prior to Russell being found to find out why she was dead in the apartment complex parking lot.

"Right now everyone is a person of interest," said Booher. "We had no history with her in the Dayton area."

Investigators don't know if Russell was target or if the shooting was a robbery. No weapons or drugs were recovered from Russell's car, police said.

The timeline begins when Middletown police announced on their Facebook page that Edwards advised them Russell, who is not a custodial parent, took their daughter from a babysitter Tuesday at around noon.

At some point after picking up Haven, police say Russell drove to Dayton. She didn't come back when she was supposed to and the family got worried.

The mother apparently convinced a babysitter she would return with the child in a few hours.

"The father contacted Brittany Russell later in the afternoon and was told she would return the child around 7 p.m., however she failed to do so," Middletown police said in a press release. " Edwards again contacted Brittany Russell, who stated she would return the child later that night."

Russell never returned and Edwards reported her missing around 5 a.m. Wednesday. Dayton Police found the infant and her mother's body around 9:30 a.m.

Haven has since been returned to her father's custody.

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