Charmaine Fenton wants the Miramar Police Department to reopen their investigation into her son’s death. LJ Latham, 18, disappeared on April 11 while hanging out with a male minor friend that evening.
A medical examiner determined his cause of death to be “accidental drowning,” but his mother isn’t buying it. She insists that he’s an avid swimmer and that the state in which police found his body is unsettling.
In the latest installment of TSR Investigates, Justin Carter spoke with Charmaine Fenton about her fight for answers. Carter describes LJ Latham as a “star student” who was headed to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Now, exclusive footage obtained by TSRI shows LJ Latham moments before he disappeared and died. In the clip, he’s seen pacing for a moment before walking out of the frame. It’s unclear if he’s naked in the video.
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His location was undetermined for about three days. Within the first 24 hours of his disappearance, police had recovered LJ’s “rain-soaked clothing” from a sidewalk near the lake. Search efforts escalated by land, lake, and air. On April 13, a patrol officer found LJ’s naked body floating face-down in the lake.
“I was not even thinking what I was told was going to be the outcome, but I was hoping that my son would’ve return, even if he was injured or something. I had hope. That’s all I had,” Charmaine told Justin Carter.
Mother Describes Text Interaction w/ Friend On The Night LJ Latham Disappeared
The best friend who was with LJ on April 11 was not identified by the investigative series for privacy reasons. Police have not charged the minor with any crime.
However, Charmaine Fenton revealed their text exchange on the night Latham didn’t return home from their evening hangout. The friends kicking it was a usual occurrence between the pair, she said.
Fenton says she texted her son’s best friend and asked why she couldn’t reach LJ. The minor initially lied, saying LJ was in the bathroom and his phone was dead. When Fenton called out the lie, the minor revealed that they were chilling y Vizcaya Park before LJ Latham “got mad about smth on his phone and left the car.” The minor said he waited for 40 minutes for LJ to return, but he never did.
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The police report confirms the minor drove LJ’s car back and forth nearby in search of Latham, per surveillance footage. When he had no success, the minor returned home and enlisted the search help of his parents. Unable to find the teen, the family returned to their residence without alerting Charmaine Fenton or Miramar PD.
The report says it’s unclear what triggered LJ to leave the vehicle. It adds that during questioning, the minor seemed “to be honest and forthwith to law enforcement,” including that LJ and he had purchased and smoked marijuana before his disappearance.
The dealer, also a minor, denied that the marijuana had any harmful additives, adding that LJ had no issues with past purchases. LJ’s toxicology report did not show any hallucinogenic drugs in his system. There was an unconfirmed positive test for cannabinoids.
See the full episode below.
TSR Investigates explores cold cases and special interest news stories underrepresented in mainstream media.