A woman who purported to be the cousin of a teenager who tragically fell to his death at an amusement park in Orlando, Florida, is actually a stripper with a checkered criminal history, according to multiple reports.
Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV 9 reported last Thursday that “Shay Johnson,” who claimed to be the cousin of Tyre Sampson, the young man who fell from the Orlando Free Fall ride at ICON Park, is not actually related to Sampson’s family. The woman had been holding news conferences, collecting petition signatures, and leading vigils outside the park. The Orange County Sheriff’s office told the outlet that Sampson’s mother does not know who the woman is, and the family’s attorneys said no one in Sampson’s family knows “Shay Johnson.”
Then on Friday, the Orlando Sentinel published a report which identified Johnson by her real name, Lewishena Lavonia Browning. Browning is a 32-year-old woman from Orlando who worked as an exotic dancer at a strip club called Flash Dancers, the Sentinel reported. Club owner William Sierer told WFTV 9 that he had fired Browning after learning the news. He reportedly confirmed to the Sentinel that she had worked as a dancer at the adult entertainment spot for five years. He said that Browning went under the name “Shay,” but her records were filed under the name Lewishena Browning.
”I feel terrible about it,” he told the Sentinel, and called Browning’s deception “unconscionable.”
Browning also has a checkered legal history. The Sentinel reported that a recent petition for a restraining order against Browning listed “Shay Johnson” as an alias, while a 2019 petition Browning filed against another man showed tattoos and an injury that looked similar to tattoos and a scar that could be seen in photos taken at the demonstrations outside the park.
Browning has also been arrested at least four times. The Sentinel reported that she is currently awaiting trial on felony arson and criminal mischief charges from an arrest in August when she allegedly set a car on fire. She was arrested again in December. She was also arrested on charges of domestic violence and driving with a suspended or revoked license in April 2020, after she gave a false name and ID to a deputy who pulled her over.
The Sentinel also reported that efforts to contact Browning have been unsuccessful. She has disconnected the number she gave to the newspaper, as well as another number listed in court records.
Tyre Sampson of Missouri fell out of the Orlando Free Fall ride at the ICON park around 11 p.m. as onlookers watched helplessly. Sampson was visiting Florida on vacation with his friend’s family…
Sampson appears to have come out of his seat as the dropper descended, flinging him from the ride and onto the concrete below. It is unclear what caused Sampson to lose his seat. A picture floating around social media taken prior to the start of the ride appeared to show Sampson with the crossbar pulled down to his chest, but not buckled into his seat with a strap designed to lock riders in.
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