In October 1994, Susan Smith told police in Union, South Carolina she had been carjacked by a man who drove off with her two young sons on the back seat. Nine days later, she led them to the lake into which she had driven the vehicle, drowning both boys. This horrific tale has been thoroughly documented, and Smith has been the subject of countless hours of viewing. Right from the start there were problems with her story, but every day, police all over the world hear both improbable stories that turn out to be true and plausible ones that are outright lies.
In December 2011, D’Andre Lane of Detroit told a similarly implausible story in which he was carjacked by not one but two men, who drove off with his two year old daughter Bianca Jones on the back seat. Like Smith, Lane was charged with and convicted of murder, but that is where the similarities end, because in Lane’s case there is no confession, no body, and no real motive. Smith murdered her sons because they stood in the way of what she saw as a rosy future with the son of her employer. It has been claimed Lane beat his daughter to death because she wet the bed, but the evidence for this is weak at best.
Lane is no angel, to put it mildly, he has several convictions including for violence, and has served hard time. He is also a father of seven. By seven different women!
He failed a polygraph, and a cadaver dog is alleged to have detected traces of death in his car, which was found abandoned a mile from where he claimed to have been hijacked. Polygraphs are junk science, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. As for the dog, did it actually lead the police to a body?
On the plus side, Lane had returned to college and was trying to turn his life around. And there are witnesses who claim his daughter was alive after she was alleged to have been murdered, including one who claims the girl was kidnapped by someone close to home.
Lane lost an appeal against conviction in 2014, but in 2017 his attorney told True Crime Daily he too had evidence Bianca was still alive, and he is not the only one.
Although they have not been very active of late, Lane’s supporters can be found on Twitter. The big question has to be, if Lane really did murder his daughter, where in Hell did he dump the body? He had a limited time frame in which to dispose of it, and in cases like this, the police usually go the extra mile and then some, but there has been not a trace of Bianca Jones. It appears too that once they were satisfied in their own minds that Lane’s carjacking story didn’t hold up, the police didn’t bother to pursue other lines of investigation.
Having said all this, Lane is probably guilty, but not probably enough. If ever there was a murder case with reasonable doubt written all over it, it is this one. Even the judge, the charismatic Vonda Evans, said she was surprised with the verdict.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.