Adopted Children’s Charred Remains Found, Mother Charged

A North Carolina woman, Avantae Deven, 63, is currently in custody after authorities discovered the charred remains of two of her adopted children in a barrel on her property. The Fayetteville Police Department has charged Deven with two counts of first-degree murder, concealment of death, kidnapping, and felony child abuse. The victims, Blake Deven and London Deven, had been missing for years before their mother reported them. London, who had special needs, was last seen in 2019, while Blake disappeared in 2022.

The investigation into the children’s whereabouts began in November when police responded to a mental health crisis at the Deven residence. The individual experiencing the crisis informed detectives that he had not seen his brother, Blake, for five years. The last time he saw Blake, the boy had a broken arm. As the investigation progressed, authorities discovered that another family member, London Deven, was also missing.

Avantae Deven, who had adopted three boys and two girls, including London who required special assistance, initially misled investigators. She claimed that Blake was possibly at a Buddhist retreat in the mountains, a story she also told a 911 dispatcher when she reported the children missing in March. However, further investigation revealed this to be untrue.

With assistance from the FBI, police searched the family’s residence, where they lived from November 2016 to June 2019. On the property, they discovered a barrel containing partial human remains. Last week, forensic analysis confirmed that the remains belonged to two individuals: a female aged 15 to 19 and a male aged 7 to 10. The female was identified as London Deven, and the male is believed to be Blake Deven.

Investigators allege that Avantae Deven subjected the children to severe abuse, confining them to a dark room and providing minimal food. She reportedly told the children they could earn food by writing hundreds of paragraphs apologizing for their behavior. After the deaths of the boy and girl, she allegedly enlisted help from someone in the home to dispose of the bodies in the burn barrel. The children are believed to have died before 2019, while they were living at the residence where their remains were found.

Avantae Deven is currently being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center without bond.