Platte County law enforcement brought Grayden Denham back to Missouri this weekend after being taken into custody in Arizona this past February.
Denham was named a “person-of-interest” related to four murders and arson in Edgerton, Missouri, on Feb. 20.
Authorities found the bodies of Grayden’s grandparents Russell and Shirley Denham, sister Heather Denham and her 3-month-old son, Mason. Investigators said someone murdered them and then set the Platte County home on fire.
On Monday, Shelly Denham, Grayden Denham’s mother, spoke for the first time since Grayden Denham was taken into custody.
Shelly Denham said, “I want justice for my daughter's murder. Let's call it what it is. They didn't die in a car accident, she didn't die of cancer, she didn't have a heart attack, she was murdered. She was slaughtered.”
Grayden Denham has been charged with stealing his grandparents’ car but has not been charged with the murders.
Shelly Denham said Grayden Denham was at her home the day of the killings. “His coat was here, his bag was here, his book was laid open, everything was here as though he was coming back. Sometimes he would get his sister Heather to come get him and she would take him back up to Edgerton, or if he needed some place to go she would take him. They were just so close.”
Grayden Denham was located in Arizona wandering around naked hours after the murders and fire. That’s something else that Shelly Denham said didn’t make sense.
The mother and grandmother described the murders as gruesome but added, “I don’t believe my son did this.”
Shelly Denham said he was close to his grandparents. “He had built on a room behind the kitchen, he had torn out a concrete patio, he was helping them build on to a barn, he would mow their yards because they were in their 80’s so he would go up there and help them.”
Since the February killings, Shelly Denham said she hadn’t been informed about the investigation. Now, she questions why her daughter Heather Denham’s car was filled with her belongings. “It was like she was ready to make a fast getaway.”
Shelly Denham thinks what was inside the car will provide more answers and prove her son is innocent.
“I don't want their murders to be in vain. I want the real killers caught whoever they may be, but I don't believe that it's my son,” she said.
Investigators planned to question Grayden Denham when he returned to Missouri. He is being held on $100,000 bond and will be in court June 14.
Shannon Halligan can be reached at email@example.com.