Death of 9-year-old girl being treated as a homicide investigation, maternal family says

MONTVERDE, Fla.—The maternal family of the child found deceased in a Montverde home Monday has publicly identified her and they say the Lake County Sheriff’s Office has told them her death is a homicide investigation.

Only Inside Lake spoke with the uncle and grandmother of Jamaria Sessions, 9, this week. According to Jamaria’s uncle Joseph Robinson, Jamaria and her younger sister, 5, had been living with their father, Lojuan Sessions since October 2023, and Jamaria was found deceased at his home in Montverde. Prior to that, they were living with their grandmother when Sessions picked them up from school without her knowledge or consent. Sessions was released from prison in August 2023 after serving a five-year prison sentence for two counts of child neglect, trafficking in MDMA and fleeing and eluding, stemming from a case in Polk County. According to Florida Department of Correction records, he was simultaneously serving a two-year sentence for an Orange County aggravated assault with a weapon case. He is currently on probation for the Polk County case.

The victims’ names in the Polk County case are redacted, but Robinson told Inside Lake, Sessions saw the girls very little prior to his prison sentence and they were not the children in the vehicle with him when he fled police.

The girls were living with their grandmother, Althea Chenault, following the death of their mother, Tadrina Dort. Dort died from congestive heart failure in 2022 after beating leukemia. She was only 24 years old.

Robinson said Sessions has not let the maternal side of Jamaria’s family see her or her sister since he picked them up from school in 2023. There is an open custody case between Chenault and Sessions, but the documents are not available to the public.

LCSO is investigating the case and has released very little information.

“The death investigation is being treated as a homicide until the results are retrieved from the autopsy by the Medical Examiner’s office,” Cpl. Chanel Martin told Inside Lake Friday.  “When the cause and manner are returned explaining the death, a determination will be made on proceeding forward.”

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