A man who has been one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted fugitives in a years-old homicide case of his fiancee was arrested in Prince George’s County on Thursday, just hours, police say, after he killed a new girlfriend in the District.
Lamont Stephenson’s alleged D.C. victim, Natina Kiah, was working as a security guard at a homeless shelter, her family said, and met Stephenson in recent weeks while he was staying there. Her body was found stabbed in her bedroom in Southeast on Wednesday night, along with her cat, according to police and family members.
Stephenson, 43, was arrested about 2 a.m. Thursday by three Prince George’s patrol officers checking a report that a man was living in an Enterprise box truck stored on a rental company lot on Annapolis Road in Lanham. Officers found him with a backpack and a weapon, which they declined to describe in a news conference Thursday night.
“He initially stated he was homeless and was just trying to get out of the weather,” said Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski.
The arrest brought Stephenson’s years on the run in a 2014 New Jersey case to a halt. Authorities said he now is in the hands of federal authorities. It was unclear when he would make an appearance in the D.C. case or be returned to New Jersey.
In 2014, Stephenson was charged with murder two weeks after Olga DeJesus, 40, was found asphyxiated in her Newark apartment on Oct. 17. The FBI said DeJesus’ dog was also found strangled.
The FBI added Stephenson to its most wanted list in 2018 and noted he was last seen by a relative in or around Myrtle Beach, S.C., in July 2017. Authorities said he had family ties to New Jersey, Virginia, and North and South Carolina. There was a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Authorities said they believe both killings were related to domestic issues.
At a news conference Thursday evening, Stawinski credited patrol officers Joseph Killian, Jeffrey Bragg and Eduardo Ventura with apprehending the suspect after getting an otherwise routine call from a security officer about a suspicious person. The chief said Stephenson gave police his real name and “offered that he may be wanted in connection with additional crimes.”
Stawinski said police found he was on the FBI’s most wanted list, and federal authorities took custody of him. He said authorities then learned he may be connected to a killing in the District on Wednesday.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham confirmed in an interview that a warrant for Stephenson was issued in the stabbing death of Kiah, 40.
A close cousin of Kiah said relatives became concerned Wednesday when she had not called her grandchildren and her oldest daughter, as she typically did each day. Relatives went to Kiah’s apartment in the 5000 block of D Street SE in Marshall Heights and, when they did not get an response, called police.
Officers forced the door open about 8:30 p.m. and reported finding Kiah unresponsive in her bedroom. Police later determined she had been stabbed, and she was pronounced dead.
Kiah’s cousin, Shaun C. Montague, said Kiah met Stephenson about two weeks ago and that he seemed like a perfect soul mate for her. He said Kiah had told relatives they met at the shelter, but because she worked there, they assumed he did, too.
Montague said he learned after his cousin was dead that Stephenson had been homeless and occasionally stayed at the shelter.
A spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Human Resources confirmed Kiah worked at the shelter as a security guard. Montague, who is 40 and lives in Maryland, said Kiah had introduced Stephenson to her parents recently and he had been around her four daughters — ages 14 to 21 — and her 2-year-old grandson.
Kiah’s mother, Jennifer Wallace, 65, met Stephenson last week, she said, when he told people that he was a minister and was called “bishop.”
“He was very affectionate,” said Montague, a veterinary technician. “He didn’t display any type of red flags. His clothes were clean. He was well spoken. He didn’t use vulgar words. She seemed so happy with him, and he seemed to be living okay. He showered her children with affection.”
The only hesitation, Montague said, was that Stephenson did not have a job. Montague said he had visited the couple recently and arrived as they were cooking dinner together at Kiah’s apartment, with a Marvin Gaye track playing in the background.
“It seemed she had finally found someone who was on her level,” Montague said.
“He was so charming,” Wallace said. “He looked at me and said, ‘Now I know where your daughter’s good looks come from.’ ” She said he took her grandchildren out to dinner at Red Lobster, racking up a $340 bill.
“I thought that was very nice of him,” Wallace said.
Wallace described her security-guard daughter as “rough and ready” but said it appears she fell for Stephenson due to the affection he lavished on her and her children.
She said D.C. police told her Wednesday night about the allegations in Stephenson’s past, about case of the woman in Newark, and about the dog.
She said her daughter’s cat had his throat slit and was found under the covers next to her daughter’s body.
“It scared me,” Wallace said. Of her daughter, she said, “She loved life, and she wanted to live.”
Montague said Kiah had just been accepted into a voucher program to help buy her first house, and she was considering returning to school to study nursing.
“Everything was coming together for her,” Montague said.
At the homeless shelter where she worked, Montague said, she would buy meals for the homeless or slip them money.
“She felt as long as she could keep giving, her life wasn’t a loss,” he said. “She worked to protect people, and yet no one was there to protect her in her final moments.”