• As woman's body found in ditch Friday, granddaughter was being born

    By: Erica Bennett


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local family is searching for answers after their grandmother was found dead in a ditch. Action News followed the police investigation into Lawannna McDaniel's death as breaking news Friday.

    McDaniel’s family learned about her death as her daughter was giving birth.

    Friday was a normal day, until someone noticed a body in the rural ditch. Turns out, it was 44-year-old McDaniel, a loving mother and grandmother whose family wants answers. 

    It's a tragedy no one expected before the holidays.

    "We would have never thought in a million years something like this," said Doreszelle Cohen, McDaniel’s sister.

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    McDaniel was last seen noon Thursday. She never went far from home, so when a body was found Friday -- her family had a sinking feeling it was her. 

    "Any answers would help us. We have no clue. No one is telling us anything,” said Whitney Taylor, McDaniel’s daughter.

    McDaniel had six children ranging from 2 to 27. She also had 4 grandkids, the newest being baby Trinity.

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    She was born just four minutes before passersby found McDaniel. It's a tough contrast -- welcoming one life and saying goodbye to another.

    "We all feel incomplete really. Really without her,” Taylor said.

    While police work to put the pieces together, Taylor and her family are trying to remember the love, the laughter, and the kindness McDaniel was.

    "She always fed everybody that came. She was a loving person," Taylor said.

    Some of McDaniel's family members came to get a firsthand look at the scene. They say it just doesn't add up. McDaniel had no ties here. Regardless, they're depending on the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for a thorough and quick investigation. 

    Click here to visit the Go Fund Me page that has been set up in McDaniel's honor. 

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