Mike Blair, a homicide detective, had very little involvement in the criminal proceedings of the case, but he knew he had to visit the young boy, until finally he, his wife, and his five kids, welcomed Ronnie home.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of murder and abuse that may be disturbing to readers.
In March 2018, Detective Mike Blair, from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, was called to respond to a crime scene after a distraught call came through. The veteran officer had responded to hundreds of calls in his career, but this was one that was about to change his life. The 911 call was from a frantic Kenyatta Barron who was begging for her life.
Her boyfriend, Ronnie Oneal III, shot her and then beat her to death, according to WGN9. Oneal then murdered his disabled daughter, Ron’Niveya, as well. Then, he proceeded to stab his then 7-year-old son, Ronnie, before setting him on fire, in their home in Riverview. The man has now been sentenced to three life terms plus 60 years in prison for his crimes.
#BREAKING: Judge sentences Ronnie Oneal III to 3 back-to-back life sentences, plus 90 years for 2018 double murder of his girlfriend, 9-year-old daughter. https://t.co/YmVSle9PQh— 10 Tampa Bay (@10TampaBay) July 23, 2021
On the day Blair received the call, he went to the crime scene and was told that the mother and daughter didn't make it, but the boy was alive when he was rushed to the hospital, though they don't expect him to survive, given how extensive his injuries were. “By the time I arrived that night, we were told there was a child being medevacked to Tampa General, but he was not expected to live,” Blair said, per FOX4.
Since Blair was a detective on the homicide team, he had very little involvement in the criminal proceedings of the case, but somehow, he felt like he had to go visit the injured boy. The road to recovery for the young lad for his stab and burn wounds was a slow and painful one, but he was a fighter who didn't give up. Blair soon started to be a regular visitor at the hospital, and one night, when Blair was about to leave, Ronnie asked him for something that touched his heart.
“He kind of held on to my hand as I left, and he said, ‘Could you watch a movie with me?'” Blair recalled. He had to get back to work, but he knew he wanted to call his wife and ask her if she could postpone their "date night" just to have a movie with Ronnie. “We were planning to go on a date night that night and I said, ‘Hey, instead of doing date night, do you mind if we watch a movie with this kid?'” said Blair, who has five children with his wife, Danyel.
Detective Mike Blair responded to the scene the night Ronnie Oneal murdered his girlfriend and daughter, and tried to kill his 8-year-old son. The detective and his wife decided to adopt young Ronnie and make him a member of their family. https://t.co/83FWaWhgGs— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) July 28, 2021
She said yes, so instead of going on a date, they headed to the hospital. That's when they felt like Ronnie should permanently become a part of their large family. “I had already known that I would want to take Ronnie home with us, starting that night,” Danyel said.
But at the time, he was going to go home with a guardian, whom the Blairs met in the hospital. “I kind of did the polite, ‘If he ever needs anything, give me a call,'” Detective Blair said. Unfortunately, there were some problems in that home, and the guardian did take up Blair's offer, and called him, seeking help. “When I got the phone call, I was driving, and I was driving by our church and the guardian was asking, ‘Do you know of somebody who can help us out?'” he recalled.
For Blair, this call came as a sign, because this was something his wife had prayed for! Honestly, it was just meant to be. Now, Ronnie has five siblings and a place he can call home. “They are really nice people. They are the best moms and dads, and they really take care of me. There is no one else better than them,” Little Ronnie said.
"I am safe, I am loved, I am a part of this family," is the mantra for the family of Detective Mike Blair. Blair explains the story behind adopting a young boy who was stabbed at the age of 7 by his own father. https://t.co/c944zIbm5d pic.twitter.com/evVIXWs644— Florida Sheriffs (@FLSheriffs) July 28, 2021
But for him, the murders and the trial were one passing memory because he didn't want his mother and sister remembered for only that.
Barron had opted to go back to school and was enrolled at Hillsborough Community College at the time of her murder. Despite her busy schedule, she still made time to play with her son. “She was just a good mom. We did like a lot of things together. She was nice, pushed me on the swing, made me some good wings,” said Ronnie.
His sister, Ron’Niveya, was a wheelchair user with a speech impairment, so he learned sign language to communicate better with her. She was someone with a positive attitude and was recognized at school because of that.
Despite his traumatic past, Ronnie has a bright future ahead of him. Blair also mentioned they’ve adopted a family mantra that Ronnie repeats to himself in times of stress.
“It goes; ‘I am safe, I am loved and I am part of this family,'” he said.
Cover Image Source: Twitter | Florida Sheriffs (@FLSheriffs)