Invisible Children

Chaskah Davis Smith, and 1 sibling

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.

Chaskah Davis Smith, age 11, was murdered by his grandmother, Stephanie Marie Davis. Chaskah (b. 2011) and his half brother L. (b. 2013) were starved and physically abused by Davis for several years prior to Chaskah’s death. Davis’s husband, Thomas Desharnais, knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. Chaskah and L. were homeschooled.

Chaskah and L. lived with their mother, Amandria Davis-Smith, until around 2015. The family was Lakota. Following the March 2016 death of Davis-Smith’s brother (in which Desharnais claimed Davis-Smith was a suspect),  the boys went to live with Davis, their maternal grandmother.. Between March 22, 2017 and August 31, 2017, Arizona police received three reports that the boys were being abused. At least one report came from staff at Anasazi Elementary School who had noticed Chaskah’s injuries. Investigators dismissed all three reports for a lack of evidence. The family moved out of Arizona until the final investigation closed on September 18, 2017, and then Davis pulled the boys out of school, claiming that she was going to homeschool them. The boys were not enrolled in school after 2017.

In 2019, the family moved into an Extended Stay America building in Scottsdale, where the abuse escalated. According to Desharnais, Davis called the boys “worthless crap” and “lower than dirt,” bent their fingers back with pliers, and hit them with a broom. Courtney Lange, who worked at the hotel front desk, called police twice after witnessing strange behavior from both boys, including wearing hats and long sleeves in hot weather. However, no investigation was opened as a result of Lange’s calls. Desharnais told investigators that Davis became more abusive in the last three months of 2021. She hit Chaskah on the head with a wrench, refused him food and water, cut skin off his genitals to punish him for wetting the bed, and forced him to sleep in the bathtub so that he would not get blood in the room.

The abuse came to light on the afternoon of January 30, 2022 when Davis called 911 to report finding Chaskah unresponsive in the hotel bathtub. Half a liter of water was removed from Chaskah’s body during EMTs’ attempts to resuscitate him, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. Although Davis claimed his injuries were self-inflicted, investigators found bedding with bloodstains at the hotel, along with pliers, a wrench hidden under a mattress, a trash bag filled with human hair, and an animal shock collar (although the family had no pets). Davis and Desharnais were charged with first degree murder and child abuse, and L. was placed in foster care.

Date: January 30, 2022
Scottsdale, Arizona


Documents: Date:
Obituary: Andrew Callahan 03-30-2016
Grandma, her husband accused of murder as Arizona investigators detail shocking child abuse case 01-31-2022
Grandmother, Her Husband Charged After 11-Year-Old Boy Dies From ‘Horrific’ Abuse
Arizona Grandma and Husband Accused of Murdering 11-Year-Old in Hotel Where Guest Heard ‘Someone Being Thrown Against the Wall’
Arizona Department of Child Safety Preliminary Report 02-01-2022
Arizona Grandmother Charged with Premeditated Murder for Allegedly Beating 11-Year-Old Grandson and Torturing Kids with Needle-Nose Pliers
Boy who died in Scottsdale was severely abused by relatives, court records say
Grandmother, Hubby Turn on Each Other After Boy’s Horrific Motel Death
Picking up the pieces for the Davis-Smith boys 02-06-2022
Scottsdale community gathers to remember 11-year-old abused, killed
Vigil honors Scottsdale 11-year-old who died after being found severely injured in hotel