While the world celebrated the holiday season, the children of Juanita Hankins learned that their mother would never return home. The 32-year-old mom of two was found beaten and strangled on Christmas Day inside of a Beverly Motel & Suites hotel room in Chicago.
On Christmas Eve, it’s reported that Juanita took her daughters, ages four and six, to their grandmother’s home. She told family members that she would only be away for a few hours and no one questioned whether or not she would return because of the holiday.
However, hours passed and none of Juanita’s loved ones could get ahold of her. “I said, ‘If I call you, girl, you better come in – you know, it’s Christmas. I did – we laughed, like, ‘Mama, you know, I’ll be back.’ Eight o’clock came. Nine o’clock came. It’s 12 o’clock,” Juanita’s mother Elisa Hankins told CBS 2 Chicago. “It’s Christmas! My daughter would never abandon her kids on Christmas!”
Not long after Juanita was killed, her ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Finley-Scott, was admitted to a local hospital with self-inflicted stab wounds. The couple dated for a few months until the Fall of this year when they reportedly “had an explosive breakup.” Finley-Scott supposedly sent Juanita threatening messages following their split.
In mid-December, Juanita contacted the authorities with accusations that her ex shared an intimate, sexual video on social media of her. A week later, the two planned to see each other on Christmas Eve. Surveillance footage at the hotel shows Finley-Scott arriving not long before Juanita.
According to investigators, Juanita was going through Finley-Scott’s phone, a move that upset him. A verbal confrontation turned physical and Finley-Scott grabbed Juanita by the neck, choked her, “slammed her down on the floor, and then dragged her to the bathroom where he straddled her with her body between his legs.”
She told him she couldn’t breathe but he continued. After he realized he’d killed her, he left her in the room before driving to his relative’s home. It was there that Finley-Scott reportedly injured himself, so his relative called for help. When the suspect heard the sirens of squad cars headed in his direction, Finley-Scott fled. Authorities caught up with Finley-Scott and he later confessed to murdering Juanita Hankins.
Finley-Scott has been charged with murder and he’s being held without bond. The coroner concluded that Juanita’s cause of death was strangulation, but she also had bruises and injuries all over her body.
Please share this story of Jaunita Hankins to bring awareness to the deadly dangers of domestic violence. I send my heartfelt condolences to her loved ones. May she rest in eternal peace.