Blake, London Deven murder case leads to state investigation into adoption process in NC

WTVD logo
Wednesday, July 10, 2024
State investigating adoption process after adoptive mother's arrest
Avantae Deven is accused of murdering her two children.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A state investigation is underway connected to the death of Blake and London Deven in Fayetteville.

Their adoptive mother, Avantae Deven was charged in June with their murders.

Fayetteville police say the siblings disappeared years ago and were not reported missing until another adopted child brought it to officers' attention after they responded to a crisis call in November 2023.

A police investigation confirmed London's death after remains found in a barrel were identified as hers. The other remains in the same barrel are still being tested, but police say they're the remains of Blake Deven.

According to charging documents, Avantae made up stories about the whereabouts of missing children and went as far as having a family friend pose as Blake during a Cumberland County social services visit.

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) said it will conduct an assessment of services provided to Deven's five adopted children.

All have gone on record with police and social services about the horrific abuse they underwent. Police said forensics gathered from the two houses they lived corroborated their stories, including what happened to Blake and London.

NCDHHS said agents will also be looking into the process and decision to select Deven as an adoptive parent and other NC counties adoption processes.

Avantae Deven (Photo: Fayetteville PD)
Avantae Deven (Photo: Fayetteville PD)

Warning graphic details included in information below

Blake Deven

Fayetteville police said the investigation started in November 2023 when officers responded to a call about someone having a mental health crisis at a house on Berridale Drive, where Avantae Deven lived with her adopted children. Police said the person having the crisis said he was Blake Deven's brother and hadn't seen him in five years. He also told officers the last time he did see Blake the boy had a broken arm.

Police shared a photo of taken Blake in 2012 (Left) and an age-progressed photo (Right) showing what he may look like today at age 17.
Police shared a photo of taken Blake in 2012 (Left) and an age-progressed photo (Right) showing what he may look like today at age 17.

The investigator confirmed there were five children at the house who had been adopted from three different counties in North Carolina. This included three boys who are biologically related and two girls who are not related to each other or the boys.

Police and the Department of Social Services (DSS) interviewed the children who all gave graphic details of the horrific treatment they endured by Deven, their adoptive mother.

The children said they were kept in a small room that was kept dark and were given little to no food. They told police they could earn food by writing papers apologizing for their behavior.

Police said the children said they were sometimes beaten to the point of needing medical care. A detective who spoke at the news conference said they believed Blake's body could no longer endure the starvation and beatings and he died. After his death, they said Deven made someone participate in the burning and disposal of his body when they lived at a house on Eichelberger Drive.

Officers said they found evidence of this at the house.

Investigators said forensic evidence supported the allegations of torture, starvation, and isolation.

London Deven

Investigators learned of London Deven's death while investigating Blake's death.

Police said that during their investigation they found a metal burn barrel that contained the remains of two children. A teen girl between the age of 15-19 years old and a boy between the age of 7-10 years old. Lab tests confirmed the remains of the girl were those of London Deven.

From their interviews with the children, police said London died in the same manner Blake did, which was starvation, abuse, and neglect. The children said someone was made to participate in disposing of London's body.

They said London had special needs and was never officially reported missing by her adoptive mother, who is now charged with her death.

Testing continues on the other set of remains for positive identification.

WATCH | Timeline in Blake and London Deven Case

The woman who adopted Blake and London Deven has been charged with murder in their disappearance investigation.

WATCH | Fayetteville police give update on Blake, London Deven disappearance case

The woman who adopted two children in Fayetteville has been arrested and charged with murder, concealing their deaths and abuse.

Fayetteville Police continue to appeal to the public for information that could help them create a timeline in the investigation into Blake and London's death.

Avantae Deven (Photo: Fayetteville PD)
Avantae Deven (Photo: Fayetteville PD)
Police said the partial skeletal remains were not found at the Deven home.

RELATED | Blake Deven went to Buddhist retreat before 2022 disappearance, according to mom on 911 call

Fayetteville Police said the search for Blake Deven, last seen in 2022, and London Deven, last seen in 2019, is ongoing, asking the public for help