‘How I Caught My Killer’ Episode 5: Recap And Ending, Explained: How Was Shaniesha Forbes Murdered?

Previously in “How I Caught My Killer,” Jesse was murdered ruthlessly by a police officer. In the next episode of the docuseries, we see a 14-year-old girl’s story. Shaniesha Forbes was an African American girl from New York. She was a normal high school student. Shaniesha’s family described her as a bright and funny girl. What happened to this young individual? Let’s dig into her story.


On January 4, 2013, Shaniesha did not return home from school. By evening, her mother got worried and asked Shaniesha’s uncle what she could do. He advised her to go to the police and file a missing person report. However, the police informed Shaniesha’s mother that they would not file a report until the person has been missing for 24 hours. Shaniesha’s family was disappointed in the police because they did not take the case seriously. In the police’s defense, quite often, a teenager who has been reported missing shows up within a day or two. There are cases where the child just decides to live with a friend and leaves their house. But according to Shaniesha’s mother, Shaniesha was obedient, and she would never just leave the house like this.

Another shocking piece of information was that Shaniesha did not attend school on January 4. Her mother got even more worried upon learning the fact because it was odd; she had never missed school like that. Shaniesha had sent a text to her mother saying she was on the school bus, and it was the last text her mother had received from her. After 24 hours, the police filed a missing person’s report. On January 6, 2013, a body was discovered on Gerritsen Beach. At first, the police were unable to identify the body since the body had been burned. The police then deduced that the body was Shaniesha Forbes’. They took a picture of the face and showed it to her family, who confirmed that it was Shaniesha Forbes. The cause of death was not specified because the body was sent for tests at the lab. Meanwhile, the detectives started their investigation. They started interviewing the high school students and found out that Shaniesha had been bullied because of her race. But a friend of Shaniesha, Jonathan Ho, gave some useful information to the police.


He told the police that he had met Shaniesha a few days before her death, and she was worried that she was pregnant. He also informed the police that Shaniesha intended to keep the baby. The question now arises: who was the father? Even though the medical examiners confirmed that Shaniesha was not pregnant, she was still worried. The police started looking for more and more clues. Police found out that Shaniesha’s phone was last located in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The place was opposite where Shaniesha’s school was. So why was she in that area? The police had no leads for months. Her family was devastated; they wanted answers from the police. Her cousin said she was afraid the police were going to disappoint them because, historically, the police have not been too helpful to the African-American community. The family was afraid the police would see them differently and delay the process. The family wanted to know how their child died and who murdered her. The family could not fathom why someone would hurt a 14-year-old child.

Back at the crime scene, the police found a receipt from a liquor store and went there to investigate. The person who bought the liquor was ruled out as a suspect because his alibi was strong, and there was no evidence that the receipt had anything to do with the murder. The police took months to properly investigate this case, but soon they had some answers for the family. They called the family and asked them to meet. The detectives informed them that they had a suspect. Finally, after months, the family had some hope. The police described how they had narrowed down a suspect. They said that Shaniesha was constantly making calls to a specific number and having long conversations. The police tracked the address of the number, and it was a 20-year-old man named Christian Ferdinand. Police went to the address they had found through contacting the network provider and found out that his sister had been paying his bills. The police asked his sister if she would ask Christian Ferdinand to call them, and even though she agreed, he never called the police for questioning.


Months went by, but finally, the test results came out. The cause of death was homicidal asphyxia. Someone had strangled Shaniesha to death. This piece of information was very hard for her family to swallow. The police then traveled to Northern Maine to question Christian. At first, Christian was very laid-back. He was asked if he knew Shaniesha, and Christian completely denied knowing her. But when he was shown Shaniesha’s photo, he said he had met her once or twice. The police knew it was a lie since they had phone records. They started interrogating him afterward. They showed him the phone records, and he had to admit he knew Shaniesha. When the police started getting tougher with him, he admitted to killing Shanisha. He told the police that they had an affair, and when Shaniesha told him that she was pregnant, he wanted her to abort the child. But since Shaniesha did not want to abort it and actually wanted to start a family with him, he put a pillow on her face till she stopped breathing. After that, he packed her body in a suitcase and used a body spray and a lighter as a torch to burn her body. It was a brutal murder. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but the family thought it was way less than what he deserved. Nevertheless, the story does not end there. Soon, the police got word that he had an accomplice. Luis Manon, a friend of Christian, helped him dispose of the body. Earlier, Christian lied about getting a cab to the beach. It was Luis who drove his van to the beach, and together, they burned the body and threw it in the ocean. But the body came back to the shore.

A life was lost because a predator did not want to take responsibility for his actions. Shaniesha was a child; she did not know any better. However, Christian was 20 years old at the time. Not only did he rape a minor, but he also cold-bloodedly murdered her. He tried to throw her body into the ocean in the hopes that nobody would find her. Her family still aches for their loss; they remember Shaniesha as a funny individual who would light up the room.


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Tarushi Patali
Tarushi Patali
Tarushi is an English Literature graduate, who is currently doing master's in mass communication from Mumbai. She loves making lists and is an avid reader. Also, she likes judging people by their movie taste. In her leisure time you would find her digging random conspiracy pages on Reddit!

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