Jason Michael Wells and Shanna Dawn Lanham
Have you ever met someone and within the first few moments of getting to know them you knew you would eventually read about them doing something heinous and disgusting? Some vibe about the person gave you the total impression that they have the capability of committing an evil act?
Meet Shanna Dawn Lanham and her pedophile piece of garbage boyfriend Jason Michael Wells. These two ensured that Shanna’s beautiful 2 year old Addison did not get to open presents under the tree this year, or have a 3rd birthday. Addison will never go to school, ride a bicycle or go to the prom. You see, Addison is dead. And no, she just didn’t die peacefully in her sleep, she died a slow agonizing death drug out for weeks , and was hidden from anyone to tried to stop her mother and new boyfriend from having their fun at Addison’s expense.
Miss Shanna was only 13 years old, but already a lifelong drug addiction to everything under the sun. While other teens thought they were so racy as to take a sip of a wine cooler, Shanna had moved from home by 14, and was snorting cocaine and in love with Ecstasy. By age 20 she was stripping to feed her habit and finding old men who would house her until she robbed them blind.
Then, back out into the streets she would go, looking for love, drugs, and a good time.
She gave birth to a little boy five years ago, but never took the child in as her own, according to court documents. A friend of the family picked up the drug-addicted baby from the hospital and later adopted him as her own.
Lanham was arrested several times on drug and larceny charges. She was branded a felon.
Out of jail and looking for love, she has a very short affair with another drug addict, Raymond May. She quickly gets pregnant with a beautiful daughter Addison. Raymond May, 36, is being held in the Central Prision in Raleigh, NC with a dozen beautiful convictions. The charges include promoting drug sales by a minor, trafficking heroin and conspiring to sell and deliver cocaine, according to arrest records. With Ray in jail, its time to look for a new boyfriend/dealer.
What does a drug addict mother to do all alone with a baby to raise? Get a sex offender boyfriend of course! This was a gem of a man named Jason Michael Wells. She was by his side when he stood trial for taking indecent liberties with a minor.
Wells eventually took a plea of sexual battery and was required to register as a sex offender. Wells inappropriately touched the 12-year-old girl on a chance encounter at a grocery store. Shanna stood by his side and called all the charges lies! The trial was under way when Wells agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge. But child molesters don’t do a very good job paying for Coke, so its back to stripping. Too bad for Shanna, working at strip clubs was not going to work for Shanna anymore-the drugs were ruining her appearance to the point where even the sleaziest club in town would not employ her. NOt even the nasty ones want the girls with the Meth scabs on their faces.
When Wells started coming around and the woman Shanna was living with learned that he was a registered sex offender, she told Lanham she didn’t want the man around her three children .Lanham decided to move out. She was urged to leave Addison with her, but the couple decided to take the little girl with them.
Homeless once again, the couple decide to move in a pay-by-the-week Hotel in Bessemer City, NC. Wells, took odd jobs roofing to pay the weekly hotel rent. Lanham was a “Stay At Motel Mom”.
As the drug abuse got worse, and it looked as if the baby wasn’t being fed. The child was no longer allowed to come out her hotel room. Not even employees had seen Addison for weeks. Family members begged for help. Even several members of the sex offender’s family stepped in , left several messages at the Gaston County Probation and Parole Department in early June, saying they had saw her abusing drugs.
Since the family never received a return phone call, they reached out to Shanna’s probation officer on Facebook, begging for help.On June 13, wrote “I don’t know if that baby is eating. Shanna is strung out on crack and Xanax. She is selling all her pills. Addison, her daughter, doesn’t have any clothes and I’m not sure she is eating. I called DSS on her and her cousin called the cops. Please help Addison.”
The social worker, who has stepped down from DSS because of investigation into Addison’s death, asked for proof. Lanham’s cousin, Stacey Drewery, said she called DSS twice in June and said she was fearful for Addison’s safety. She also said she called police several times.
“I actually called 911 and asked them what would happen if I took Addison out of the hotel room, and they said I could be cited for kidnapping, even though I knew she was being abused. And that’s gotta change,” Drewery said.
A complaint of neglect against Lanham was filed in June. The basis of the claim was because Wells, a convicted sex offender, was reportedly living with the Lanham’s in a hotel. The couple also smoked marijuana and did cocaine around the child, according to the report.
That claim dictated an in-home visit within 24 hours, according to Cheryl Harris, program administrator with Gaston DSS.
On June 9, two social workers visited Lanham at the Express Inn in Bessemer City where she and the child were living.
Lanham denied accusations that Wells was living there, but social workers saw men’s clothes and shoes in the room. Lanham said that the clothing belonged to her brother. The social workers reported “Addison to be appropriately dressed, clean and no apparent well-being issues were observed.”
Social workers told Lanham that Wells was not allowed to live with a child and that they planned to return in a week.
That second visit never happened.
In the weeks to follow, Lanham called DSS and said she and Addison were taking a trip to the beach. She refused to give phone numbers and addresses, saying her phone was broken and that she didn’t have the address of where she was staying. Social workers returned to the hotel where the Lanham’s had been living on two occasions. She had apparently moved out.
Wells told social workers in July that he and Lanham had broken up. Convicted of sexual battery in 2010, Wells was added to the sex offender registry and therefore isn’t legally permitted to live with children. Friends, family and prosecutors say that Lanham and Wells lied about living together.
Lanham told social workers during her June 9 interview that she knew about Wells’ criminal record, but that she didn’t know that meant he couldn’t be around her child. Lanham said that she didn’t believe Wells was guilty of the sex offense and that she planned to marry him right away.
Both Lanham and Wells continually told social workers during follow up phone calls that they were not living together, but police have determined that Wells was living with the Lanham’s.
Wells was babysitting Addison the night she died. Wells, tried wake little Addison up from a nap, but could not get her to stir. When the child wouldn’t wake up, Wells called Lanham who returned to the America’s Best Inn and Suites and ultimately called 911. Lanham called 911 that night from her room at America’s Best Hotel in Bessemer City, frantically describing the injuries on her unresponsive child’s body.
She repeatedly tried to explain away the cuts to the toddler’s private parts as injuries from falling in a bathtub. She would go from uncontrollable sobs to quickly and soberly defending her boyfriend and explaining away any signs of abuse of little Addison.
Link to 911 call is here: http://richmedia.onset.freedom.com/gaston/lp0fb8-addison911call.mp3
Addison died of sepsis, an infection that entered her blood stream and overtook her body. She had bruises on her arm and back and a several weeks old broken leg. She was swollen and covered in boils and had been sexually assaulted and sodomized. Her arm and back were bruised; her eyes swollen from infection. Little Addison was covered in boils stemming from MRSA all over her body. Some had burst, exposing her brain and skull. Her hair was falling out.
Again, she was 2 years old.
At trial, it was determined that Lanham and Wells made doctor’s appointments for Addison, but they decided to cancel them and borrow Tylenol from a neighbor in the hotel instead. Who knew Tylenol was such a wonder drug it could heal sepsis, a broken leg, sexual assault, sodomy, and hair loss!
Wells’ bags were packed and he was gone before police arrived. He was picked up a short time later at a nearby gas station and charged with failing to register as a sex offender.
Before being charged, Lanham went on the defensive and conducted several local news interviews which can be found here:
Much of the account of the child’s death came not only from neighbors but from Lanham and Wells. Each of the defendants offered details and agreed to testify against the other. Funny how Shanna put her boyfriend above her child’s life, but not over her precious hide!
Shanna Lanham took a plea for second degree murder-only nine years to 11½ years in prison. Then she is free to breed and kill again.
Jason Wells was sentenced to 10 years to 13 years in prison. His conviction also includes baby-sitting for a child while being a sex offender. His attorney, Cindy Letorney, asked that Wells be kept separate from Addison’s biological father who is also incarcerated at Central Prison in Raleigh. Hopefully, someone will forget about the last part and make them roomies.
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