More From The LAPD Most Wanted—And An Under-reported Story
May 09, 2006, 02:42 AM
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You`d think two wanted criminals named Ty and Tisa Yiyara, would be part of the immigrant crime phenomenon.

But they`re not, they`re part of the Afrocentric education phenomenon. Here`s a 1998 story from an African-American community newspaper, the Los Angeles Sentinel:

Elevating the vision of African-centered education, Enlightened Minds School is an independent/alternative institution that teaches African American children from a holistic approach. Co-founder and part owner, Tisa Yiyara, calls the school a "God project"—and there isn`t any doubt divine intervention has played a major role to the success of the barely two-month old school because the program is an excellent one.[11-11-1998 The God Project: Enlightened Minds School Gives Alternatives, Los Angeles Sentinel ]

Here`s what the LAPD has to say about Ty Yiyara, who is believed armed and dangerous:

Suspects were principal and vice-principal of grade school facility and lured and convinced victim(s) into having sexual relations with them over an extended period of time. All sexual acts took place in the suspects motor home. Victims were minors. Suspect is a registered sex offender. Also, he maybe traveling with co-suspect Yiyara, Tisa.

And here`s almost the only news report I could find about the case on the Internet:

Police Hunt School`s Founders in Sex Case Crime: Missing couple lied about their identities, authorities say, and left students without a campus.

By HUGO MARTIN, LA Times, May 14, 2000 [LA Times pay archive version]

Ty Yiyara claimed to be a former Air Force captain with a master`s degree in social work from Dallas Baptist University. He and his wife, Tisa, founded a private Afrocentric school in South Los Angeles two years ago, saying they wanted to improve the educational atmosphere for inner-city children.

Their Enlightened Minds School was granted nonprofit status by the state and received funding from a national scholarship program. Last year, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan awarded the school founders a proclamation praising them for their "outstanding work as educators and mentors."

But police say Yiyara is an impostor and a convicted sex offender with no apparent military record, whose real name is Joseph Horace Green. They say that the master`s degree, which he posted at the school, was bought through a mail-order catalog.

Green, 34, and his wife, whose real name is Channell Nicola Warren, 25, disappeared in early April after a 16-year-old student at the school told police they had sexually molested her.

When the couple abandoned the school, they left five full-time teachers out of work and the parents of 50 students scrambling to continue their lessons for the remainder of the school year.

"There was a real Jekyll and Hyde thing going on," said Los Angeles Police Department Det. Wes Potter, who has been trying to locate the couple since prosecutors issued arrest warrants April 12. A nationwide search is underway for the couple, who face a total of 13 sex charges.