Mother of murdered Northwest High School student speaks out

The mother of slain Northwest High School student, 17-year-old Jai’lyn Jones, reaffirmed on Tuesday her belief that her son’s murder stemmed from the bullying he experienced within Montgomery County Public Schools. 

Alexis McDaniel was escorted out of a Montgomery County District courtroom on Monday after an emotional and heated exchange with the suspect's family. It started with the grieving mother yelling, "I’m glad they got you," toward the monitor where the teenage suspect charged in her son’s murder appeared virtually for an arraignment hearing. 

When asked what was going through her mind at the time, McDaniel told FOX 5, "Anger, pity, so many things were going through my mind. Really, I just want answers that I know I might not ever get. I just – I just want answers."

The suspect arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Jai’lyn’s homicide is another Northwest High School student — 17-year-old Ta’Quawn Henderson. 


In a one-on-one interview with FOX 5, McDaniel said Jai’lyn’s friends and other students immediately named Henderson as a possible suspect. 

"A lot of children are murdered every day but Jai’lyn was – he was slaughtered," McDaniel said. "He was mutilated. Animals are killed with more integrity than what they gave Jai’lyn." 

January 24, 2022, is when Jai’lyn's body was discovered, stabbed several times and beaten, in a wooded area near the 18900 block of Grotto Lane in Germantown. The crime scene is located about two miles away from Northwest High School. 

McDaniel also claimed, among other things, that sometime in February she asked the school to facilitate a meeting with Henderson’s parents.

17-year-old arrested in connection with death of Montgomery County student found in January

An MCPS spokesperson, citing student privacy and the police investigation, has not answered a number of specific questions FOX 5 has asked the school system regarding this case. McDaniel told FOX 5 she holds MCPS equally accountable. 

In court, the prosecutor told the presiding Judge that Henderson had not been in school ever since Jones was found murdered. The suspect’s family shouted that this was not true. The prosecutor also mentioned PCP use. 

"It starts with the parents. I think the faculty and staff, who are already overwhelmed … need to pay more attention to the parents as well as the students. We put so much emphasis on the students but don’t forget, they are children," McDaniel said. "They are growing up in the world we are giving them."

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McDaniel showed FOX 5 some of what she has been seeing in the wake of her son’s murder. 

There's a fake Instagram account that appears to mock her son’s homicide. The account shows a single post with a copy of the Northwest High School principal’s letter announcing Jai’lyn’s murder on January 25th. 

There’s also a "poem" written in the comment section that starts with the line: "I’m dead as hell." The "poem" references Jai’lyn being kicked in the head and calls him a snitch. 

Detectives are aware of a fake account but couldn’t confirm anything specific due to the investigation. 

The grieving mother told FOX 5 that she still doesn’t know why her son was in that wooded area with the suspect. Chief Jones said they learned Jones had told others he was going to meet "Tay" before he disappeared. "Tay" was later identified to be the teen arrested and charged, Ta’Quawn Henderson. 

The suspect’s family would not speak with FOX 5 after Monday’s arraignment hearing. FOX 5 did reach out to their attorney again on Tuesday. 

Henderson was arrested after police and prosecutors said a DNA match was found on items discovered near the crime scene. Henderson is innocent until proven guilty – something a family member also shouted toward Jai’lyn’s mother in the courtroom on Monday. 

The case will remain in adult court in accordance with Maryland law.