AKRON, Ohio — Summit County prosecutors have dismissed some of the criminal charges originally filed in connection with the high-profile shooting death of 18-year-old Na'Kia Crawford.
Prosecutors dropped tampering with evidence and obstructing justice charges against 19-year-old Jaion Bivins of Akron and an obstructing justice charge against 25-year-old Janisha George from Tallmadge.
Chief Assistant County Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi requested the dismissals in a letter dated March 8 to Akron City Prosecutor Gertrude Wilms.
LoPrinzi pointed out that the inability to find the man suspected in her death, Adarus Black, played a role in the decision.
"At this time, based on the on-going investigation into Ms. Crawford's death, and the unknown whereabouts of the suspected principal offender, Adarus Black, we do not believe the case is not ready to be presented to the grand jury for a vote," he wrote.
LoPrinzi indicated the Akron police department and a fugitive task force need additional time to locate Black and "allow the full adjudication of all three defendants at the same time."
Prosecutors declined to comment any further to News 5, but Akron Lt. Michael Miller stressed dismissing the charges against Bivins and George doesn't mean their cases are closed.
"The pivot was done in a way that does preserve the option to still charge these folks when Mr. Black is arrested," Miller said.
Crawford's father, Nicholas Crawford, said the family was angry and frustrated after learning about the dismissal of charges, but he didn't want to make any further comment.
Family Pastor R. Stacey Jenkins from House of Prayer for All People Church was shocked by the turn of events.
"I was not aware of the dismissal of the charges. I'm blown away to even hear this," Jenkins said. "It adds insult to injury. It almost feels as though justice is slapping them in the face."
Crawford was driving her grandmother home from a trip to a bank on the afternoon of June 14, 2020 when shots were fired from one car into her vehicle near the intersection of North Howard and West North Streets. She was shot multiple times and died at an Akron hospital the next day.
Crawford had recently graduated from North High School and was planning to attend Central State University.
"A young woman who her life in front of her, hopes and dreams," Jenkins said. "Getting ready to go to college. This would have been her first year in college."
Akron police and the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent fugitive task force continue to search for Black. Investigators have followed leads indicating he was in Akron and out of state, but there has been no sign of the suspect, who turned 18 last November.
"We've not stopped. We won't let up until he's taken into custody," Miller said.