Kenya London was at work Wednesday afternoon when one of her colleagues commented on a horrific breaking news headline being reported in local media: a young man's body had been dumped in the parking lot of BREC's Perkins Road park. 

London, a nurse at a local doctor's office, said her first thought was for the victim's loved ones. "I said a little prayer for whoever that child was — Lord be with them and their family," she said. "Then I went back to work."

Another few hours would pass before Baton Rouge police detectives called London and asked to meet with her. That's when they told her in person that the victim was her son, Davonta Deon London, 18. 

Emergency crews responded to the parking lot behind Olympia Stadium about 12:50 p.m. Wednesday after reports that someone in a vehicle had dumped a body there and then fled the scene. The cause of death was not immediately clear, but East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said Thursday that the victim died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators are still searching for the vehicle involved, which likely turned left onto Kenilworth Parkway and headed southwest toward Highland Road, then possibly into the Gardere area. Police have not yet determined where and when the shooting occurred.

Kenya London said her family is waiting for answers.

"It's very disheartening that someone would take another person's life and then treat them like they're trash," she said during an interview at her home Thursday evening. "To dump his body in a park full of kids — that's very disturbing. It's heartless."

London spoke quietly and deliberately, sometimes reaching up to wipe tears away from her eyes. She said she can take some comfort in the fact that her son likely didn't suffer long before his death. 

Davonta was born and reared in Baton Rouge. He had recently earned his GED and had been working in construction and landscaping. Relatives said he was full of energy — always ready with a smile or joke and always busy with jobs and projects. 

"He was just starting to direct his own path," his grandmother Lisa London said. "It's just evil out there. Things can come to even the best of our children."

Davonta had dropped into the doctor's office where his mom works late Wednesday morning because he had been feeling tired and his feet had been hurting. Kenya London said the doctor didn't find anything major but told him to drink fluids and get some rest. He was headed to pick up a prescription on his way home. 

"I hugged and kissed him and I said, 'I love you,'" his mom said. "Never did I think that once he left my office, I would never see him again."


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She said she worried about her son, in part because he assumed the best in everyone he met. "I would tell him not to trust everybody," she said. "He was so openhearted."

Relatives said they're hoping that the public nature of the crime will help detectives solve the case. In the meantime, they're supporting each other and praying for justice.

"No one deserves to be treated like this," Lisa London said. "With the harm that's been done to this family, you might think that we're broken. But we're not. We have each other and we have God in our lives."

Advocate staff writer Grace Toohey contributed to this report.

Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.