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Shay Johnson: Tyre Sampson's 'cousin' unmasked as FRAUD with ‘no ties’ to his family

Shay Johnson, whose real name is Lavonia Browning, apparently received donations for the grieving family of Tyre Sampson by pretending to be his cousin
Shay Johnson had claimed she was Tyre Sampson’s family member (Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Facebook)
Shay Johnson had claimed she was Tyre Sampson’s family member (Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Facebook)

A woman who claimed herself to be a cousin of Tyre Sampson, who fell to his death from a ICON park ride in Orlando, has actually no relationship with his family. Since the March 24 death of the 14-year-old, Shay Johnson has reportedly been marching for justice and also demanded the Free Fall ride to be taken down. But now it has been found that the 32-year-old has “no ties” to his family.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that detectives spoke with Sampson’s mother who reportedly told them she “does not know who Shay Johnson is.” It has also been revealed that the woman’s real name is Lavonia Browning, who worked for an Orlando adult entertainment club called Flash Dancers, and has apparently received money as donation from people in pretext of helping the grieving family.


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But she has now been terminated from her job after her lies were unearthed. William Sierer, the owner of the club, told the Orlando Sentinel: “I feel terrible about it,” before adding: “We are part of the community here in Orlando, and I feel terrible about the tragedy. I wish we could help in some way.”

Flash Dancers also shared an Instagram post that read: "We have separated our selfs from this individual that goes by multiple names she’s no longer welcomed here."


A woman named Destiney Allen also shared her interaction with Browning on Facebook during a vigil for Sampson. She wrote, “I didn’t meet Shay Johnson until the day of the Vigil.  On Monday Michelle and I arrived at the event around 5:30. Shay Johnson was there alone with another guy, older lady, and a young teenage girl. We introduced ourselves and she introduced herself as the cousin of Tyre. The Vigil was perfect!!! So many people came out to show their love and support. I never had one thought that Shay was not family. She was so emotional she had everybody in tears.”


But then Allen “received a called from my cousin saying that she wasn’t calling to start anything but she know Shay on a personal level. She told me that Shay Is very delusional and she’s attention seeker and that’s not her family. I was in shock! ! I didn’t know how to feel. I told her that I was going to make some calls and do a little bit of Research. I called Mandy The one Connected me to Shay Johnson and asked her how do you know Shay is related to the family…. Have you spoken with Tyre’s mom? Have you seen Tyre mom ? She stated that she have always asked Shay about Tyre’s mom but she will always say, Tyre mom is not doing well and this is too much for her. Michelle, Mandy and Myself started a full Investigation.”

She added: “We contacted news stations who was continuing to share her side of the story as a grieving cousin. No one had answers.  Mandy reached out to a family relative who stated shay was not apart of the family. Our non profit then reached out to Tyre’s mom who confirmed she is not start of the family on either side.  I can’t even explain to y’all the hurt that I’m feeling right. I feel like this is a movie. I can’t believe someone would use a horrible Tragedy like this for their own personal reasons . This is sickening and she needs to be charged!! So many people have given her money.”

Besides, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Browning has a lengthy criminal history. It mentioned that she “has been jailed at least four times in Orange County, including on charges of domestic violence and driving with a suspended or revoked license. During an April 2020 arrest, she gave a false name and ID to a deputy who pulled her over.”

According to court records, as noted by the Orlando Sentinel, the woman “is currently awaiting trial on felony arson and criminal mischief charges, accused of setting a car on fire in August. She was arrested in December and released on bond.”