In the end it was Amy Elizabeth Fleming’s own words that led to her arrest for the murder of her 3-year-old son, more than three decades after the small boy vanished.
“What happened was totally unintentional, I’m sorry, you know that,” Fleming wrote in 1987 letter from jail to her then-fiancé Lee Luster, according to a police affidavit cited by the Associated Press.
The pair was in jail at the time for obstructing the investigation into the Nevada disappearance of Fleming’s son, Francillon Pierre, known as Yo-Yo.
Although the jail house letters were written more than 30 years ago, it wasn’t until investigators in Nevada pieced together the torn up letters and found several new witnesses who also implicated Fleming in the crime that the now 60-year-old was arrested in late January by law enforcement officers in Florida, where she was living.
"We'd love to have the body of Francillon or DNA evidence that proves something," said lead detective Steve Wiese at a press conference to announce the murder charges, according to KLAS-TV. "That's not what this case is. This is a case of a lot of little things that, put together; give us the knowledge that Amy Fleming was involved in the homicide of her child."
Fleming had told investigators her son vanished in August 1986 while the couple was at a North Las Vegas swap meet. At the time, Fleming said she had been buying lunch when the boy disappeared.
“During that three-minute period of time where I was getting napkins and dressing the burgers, Yo-Yo vanished,” Fleming said at the time, according to KSNV.
But investigators were never able to find anyone who had seen the child at the swap meet and the couple had been arrested in late 1985 for child abuse, further increasing suspicions surrounding the pair. Just a month after the boy vanished, Fleming and Luster held a garage sale, which included some of the missing boy’s toys.
The boy’s father lived in Haiti and was quickly cleared as a suspect after investigators visited him in Haiti and later administered a lie detector test.
Although investigators had their suspicions at the time about Fleming and her boyfriend, they didn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest and the case fell out of the public spotlight.
Fleming and Luster got married and moved to Florida and life went on, but in 2017 North Las Vegas detectives decided to take a new look at the case after trying to trace the origin of a fraudulent birth certificate application someone had tried to take out in Pierre’s name.
The torn-up letters were found in a old case file and gave detectives new insight into Fleming’s mindset at the time.
“You’re the only one I have left to care about,” she wrote to Luster in one of the letters. “My family is not there, Yo is not there, I cannot face my friends for fear they will be implicated.”
Investigators also found two witnesses who implicated Fleming in the crime, including one who said Luster had told a woman in the jail that “Amy had killed the baby,” the Associated Press reports.
Although investigators still don’t know exactly what happened to the young boy all those years ago, North Las Vegas Police Lieutenant Bob King, who worked the case at the time, said he was “overjoyed” the case had finally been solved.
“After 32 years, this is one case in my career I felt uncomfortable about. The fact I could not resolve it successfully and the fact that we're talking about a 3-year-old, was always the worst kind of cases to work,” the now retired officer said at the press conference.
[Photos: Palm Beach County Jail; National Center For Missing & Exploited Children]
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