Lesley Luna Pantaleon was brutally murdered on June 24th, 2020. The 17 year-old girl was last seen by her family members just hours before her death. Lesley left her family's Montgomery, Alabama home in her mother's car and never returned home. Her parents reported her missing later that day.
Days later, on July 4th, 2020, investigators received a tip that led them to Catoma Creek. Once investigators arrived on the scene, they found Lesley's body in the water. It was clear that she had been murdered. Lesley's case then shifted to a homicide investigation, and it did not take long for suspects to be identified. A few weeks after Lesley's body was found, it was announced that three 16 year-old girls were arrested in connection with the case. On July 21st, 2020, Ta’Niya Merriweather, Erin Taylor, and Tyeshia Whisenant were charged as adults with capital murder.
Court documents state that Lesley got into a physical altercation with the three girls that resulted in fatal injuries. She had been beaten with a metal pole and stabbed to death. It is believed that Lesley was killed on Old Selma Road, located less than a mile away from where her body was found. The documents also state that, after dumping Lesley's body, the three girls took her phone and left the scene in her car.
A motive for Lesley's brutal murder has not yet been released, however the investigation is still ongoing. Updates are expected. Ta'Niya, Erin, and Tyeshia all remain behind bars as their charges are pending.
UPDATE (Oct. 2020): New details have been revealed about Lesley's brutal murder.
During a court proceeding on October 27th, a detective testified that the fight that ultimately lead to Lesley's death began over a missing gun. Lesley reportedly left her family's home on the afternoon of her murder to retrieve the gun from a residence near Gibbs Village. Ta'Niya Merriweather, Erin Taylor, Tyeshia Whisenant, and an unidentified teenage boy were at the residence prior to Lesley's arrival. Once Lesley showed up, she got into a fight with Tyeshia. Shortly thereafter, though, Lesley, the three girls, and the unidentified boy all left together in Lesley's car.
Erin reportedly drove the car while Lesley and Tyeshia began to fight again. At that point, Erin pulled the car over near a wooded area on Old Selma Road. It was then that the defendants began to brutally beat Lesley with a metal pole and then stab her with a pocket knife that was allegedly provided by the unidentified boy. After the attack, the defendants left Lesley in the woods and drove to a friend's house. While there, they confessed to killing Lesley and took the friend to see her body. When they arrived back on the scene, they noticed that Lesley was actually still alive. The group then put Lesley in the back of the car and drove down a secluded road to a nearby creek. They then threw Lesley and the metal pole they beat her with into the water. According to Tyeshia, Lesley was observed attempting to swim before the group left the scene.
Since their arrests, Ta'Niya, Erin, and Tyeshia have admitted to getting into an altercation with Lesley, but they have pointed the finger at one another in regards to her death. Erin and Tyeshia have both blamed each other for hitting Lesley with the metal pole. It is unclear if the boy they were with has been charged in connection with the case.
The three girls remain behind bars as their cases are pending.