On an August day in 1994, Dee Dee Jackson, 39, was found dead in her boyfriend Don Bohana’s pool in Ladera Heights, California.
Dee Dee was the former wife of Jackson 5 member Tito Jackson, and to this day, the circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery. Tonight, ABC News’ 20/20 will interview key people in the case, including the man eventually charged with her death.
Read on to learn more about Delores “Dee Dee” Martes Jackson.
1. She Drowned in Her Boyfriend’s, Don Bohana’s, Pool in 1994
Dee Dee died in Bohana’s pool in August 1994.
At first, police suspected Dee Dee’s death was an accidental drowning. Dee Dee’s family, however, questioned that, telling authorities that she was terrified of the water because she couldn’t swim. Her fear of the water was well-documented during her relationship with Tito, according to MJMedia. Speaking to People, Tito said his initial reaction upon finding out about his ex-wife’s death was: “‘Drown?’ What was she doing in the water? You know, ’cause Dee Dee and I, neither of us swam.”
Taj corroborated his father’s sentiments, adding, “That didn’t line up with anything that we believed in knowing our mom and knowing how much she feared the pool.”
In his initial 911 call to police to report the incident, Bohana said that Dee Dee “fell” into the pool. Later on, he changed his story, telling police Dee Dee “jumped” in after the couple had been having drinks in the jacuzzi.
2. Dee Dee Was Married to Tito Jackson From 1972 to 1993
Tito, Michael Jackson’s brother, met Dee Dee at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. The two married shortly after graduating in 1972, but divorced in 1993.
Dee Dee and Tito had three children together: TJ, Taj, and Tarryl. Tonight, ABC News will speak to the three Jackson children to discuss the day their mother died. TJ says that he somehow knew his mother was dead before they even reached the hospital. “I just had a sixth sense in my head, as if I knew already it was terrible and I knew already that my mother wasn’t with us. It was just a nightmare. It’s like a kid’s worst memory.”
3. Her Death Was Initially Ruled an Accident and Was Changed to a Homicide in 1996
The Jackson’s filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Bohana after Dee Dee’s death.
Two years after coroner’s ruled her death an accident by drowning, Dee Dee Jackson’s manner of death was changed to homicide.
Tonight, Bohana will speak exclusively to news correspondent Jim Avila to discuss his side of the story. Tito, Taryll, Taj, Tj, and Bohana’s daughter, Donna, and his ex-wife, Sheila, will be interviewed as well. 20/20‘s report will also include the 911 call made by Bohana the evening of Dee Dee’s death.
4. Bohana Was Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder in 1998
Four years after Dee Dee Jackson’s death, Don Bohana was found guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Bohana was a businessman from Watts, California.
Bohana has spent years the past 19 years in a California prison, but still maintains his innocence. Broadway World writes, “Now, 19 years after his conviction, Bohana and his family are on a crusade to prove that he was wrongfully convicted.”
5. Her Legacy Continues Through the Dee Dee Jackson Foundation
Dee Dee’s legacy lives on through the Dee Dee Jackson Foundation, founded by Taj, Taryll, and TJ.
The foundation’s Facebook page reads, “DDJF shines a light on loss and grief and how it impacts our lives, especially for children. We are here to provide hope, resources and a community.”
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