Mother of murdered 6-year-old boy speaks out

Posted at 7:47 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 21:47:03-05

A woman who claims she is the biological mother of a 6-year-old boy killed in Arapahoe County on Wednesday wants answers about her son's death.

Rachel Johnson said her 6-year-old son, Riley Johnson, was staying with his father when he was brutally murdered.

"I don't know what to think, I don't want to believe it," she said.

The last time Johnson said she saw her son was a year ago during Easter. "Riley was a bright child, he was always happy -- he was goofy," she said.

The boy was stabbed in the neck inside an apartment complex at 7540 East Harvard after a woman called 911 from a neighbor's apartment at 5:00 a.m. Wednesday. She told authorities she escaped after being sexually assaulted at knife-point by her boyfriend.

The boy's father -- and Johnson's ex, Brandon Johnson, was found next to him with self-inflicted stab wounds, according to authorities. 

He was arrested on Friday and faces first-degree murder and sexual assault charges.

"I don't ever picture him doing something like that to my baby," said Johnson, holding back tears. "I feel like the Social Services let me down because they told me that they were here to protect children."

The distraught mother lost custody of her son several years ago, and was charged with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse, but said she has been fighting ever since to get Riley back.

"I was going to come back out here and fight for Riley and it was already too late," she said.

Johnson had been living in Illinois, working to get her life back. She said she flew back to Denver as soon as she heard the news about her son.

"I've been asking questions and trying to figure out why he did it to my child and no gives me any answers at all," she said.

Johnson said her ex-husband was never violent, but she believes her son was killed for trying to protect the woman her ex-husband is accused of sexually assaulting.

"To me, I feel like my son is very brave, and he's a hero and he deserves to have that known," she said.

The Arapahoe County coroner has not officially released the 6-year-old's name. 


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